Researchers from the University of Bristol, in collaboration with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan, say they have developed a new type of optical fibre that will become the 'foundation for future internet infrastructure'.
The teams say their advanced multicore fibre-based network will overcome critical capacity barriers, which threaten the evolution of the internet.
The research relies on space-division multiplexing (SDM) provided by the multicore fibres and on software-defined network (SDN) control, which are considered promising solutions to fulfil and control the ever-increasing demand for data consumption in communication networks.
The teams say the work represents 'the first successful demonstration of a fully functional multicore fibre network taking advantage of the flexibility and intelligence that SDN can offer, in order to provide services to emerging internet applications such as global cloud computing'.
The Bristol research team developed the SDN control based on extensions of the OpenFlow protocol and provided the novel network node equipment while NICT contributed multicore fibres (MCFs) and new transmission techniques based on self-homodyne detection (SHD).
Dimitra Simeonidou, head of the high performance networks group at the University of Bristol, said: 'Although most ongoing research has been concentrating solely on the improvement of data throughput and transmission distance of point-to-point links, it has become apparent that the success of new fibre technologies will be strongly governed by its applicability to optical networks together with an adequate control of all required network functions.
'From the viewpoint of network control, software defined networking (SDN) has been recently gaining increasingly attention as a technology that enables network operators to easily adapt their network infrastructure to quickly changing user or application requirements and improve network efficiency. Up to now, however, SDN has been applied only to optical networks based on single-core fibres and therefore restricted to the capacity bottlenecks of the current fibre infrastructure.'