Visible and near-infrared light represents a readily available and very large source of wireless spectrum beyond the traditional radio spectrum. Enter LiFi, a technology promising speeds in excess of 100Gb/s delivered via solid-state lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This enables high-bandwidth data signals to be transmitted without wires, while not being subjected to or contributing to electromagnetic interference (EMI) below 3THz. The technology also has great potential in applications where security is a concern.
Fibre Systems Winter 2018
In March this year, Bristol will host the UK’s first, public 5G trial. The two-day live-trial – with Nokia and BT – will involve up to 5,000 people and is set to put the UK, and this city in the west of England, at the forefront of next-generation telecommunications.
Perhaps you’re at a party or a family gathering. Perhaps you’re on a crowded plane or in a cab or Uber with a talkative driver. Wherever you are, when strangers meet the question inevitably comes up, ‘So what do you do?’ For those of us in telecommunications, we have a choice of answers depending on the audience. I like to start with ‘I work in telecommunications’ and see if I get blank stares or knowing nods before trying to go any deeper. On those occasions when knowing nods trump blank stares, the conversation almost always moves to, ‘So what’s the next big thing in technology?’
In 2017 many companies have been humiliated by ransomware attacks. Various global attacks have cost these firms large amounts of money, with FedEx being hit for $300 million and Reckitt Benckiser $100 million. That cost is a stark reminder of how important it is to ensure the security of mission-critical data – and, perhaps unexpectedly, has deep consequences for the fibre-optic communication industry. It’s one factor raising the value of installed fibre, influencing the fortunes of companies buying up older links and driving the deployment of new ones, especially in metropolitan areas.
The introduction of large-scale quantum computers would render almost all currently used key-exchange protocols useless. For optical fibre networks, quantum key distribution (QKD) seems to be the natural answer to this challenge, but it too has its limitations. On the other hand, there are alternatives that potentially could provide a relatively seamless replacement to current key-exchange algorithms.
As data demand ramps ever higher, researchers are looking to innovative amplifier designs to help transport a broader light spectrum through optical fibres, finds Andy Extance
Duncan Ellis shares his views about the increased focus on automation from network operators, and how the physical layer has so far stubbornly resisted the move
Switching off copper networks where fibre has been deployed is the end game, so why are so few operators doing it, wonders Pauline Rigby
With demand for fibre to the premises increasing, Keely Portway looks at the role training plays in ensuring installation skills remain available to meet this growing demand