Tyndall Institute teams up with BT to test new fibre optic technologies

A SIGNIFICANT research project designed to make broadband up to 100 times faster, and cheaper, will be announced in Cork today.

Communications giant BT has teamed up with the Tyndall National Institute at UCC for the hugely significant “real-world” tests of Tyndall’s advanced optical networks technology.

Tyndall is one of Europe’s leading information communication technology research centres.

Its researchers are conducting cutting-edge research into photonics technology — using lasers and light to send huge volumes of data and information over fibre optic cables.

Tyndall project leader Dr Andrew Ellis said lab tests have already proved that photonics can increase 30 fold the amount of information that can be carried on a single laser in a fibre optic network.

BT has provided access to nearly 900km of optical fibre network looped between the photonics systems laboratory at the institute and Clonakilty, Co Cork.

It will be used for trials of photonic techniques to efficiently transport optical data at extremely high bit-rates over long distances.

The data will be looped several times to represent the distance between Cork and Belfast. The trials will take about two years.

Dr Ellis pointed out that YouTube currently uses the same bandwidth capacity that the whole of the Internet used in 2001.

With the increase in other bandwidth-hungry services such as high-definition TV, network traffic is estimated to increase 100 fold by 2018.

BT and Tyndall are focused on finding solutions that will enable more information to be sent over greater distances to meet this challenge, he said.

“This takes cutting-edge photonics research out of the laboratory and into the real environment helping bridge the gap between innovation and commercial application,” Tyndall’s Head of Photonics Professor Paul Townsend, said.


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