October 11, 2013
University of Bristol, NICT Successfully Demo Multicore Fiber-based Network
By Michael Guta
TMCnet Contributing Writer
Although fiber optic technology is relatively new, networks using fiber are reaching the theoretical capacity limits. Before that time comes, players in the industry and researchers around the world are trying to introduce new technology capable of dealing with the massive amount of data being created daily. The collaboration between the High Performance Networks Group at the University of Bristol and the Japan National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has resulted in a successful demonstration of a multicore fiber-based network for the first time.
This technology will provide a strong foundation for the Internet infrastructure of the future. In order to deal with a large amount of data being created and consumed by communication networks the researchers relied on Space Division Multiplexed (SDM) provided by the multicore fibers and Software Defined Network (SDN) control.
The successful result of this demonstration highlights the flexibility and intelligence of SDN and its capacity to provide services for future technologies in Internet applications. The research team at Bristol was responsible for providing the novel network node equipment and developing the SDN control based on extensions of the OpenFlow protocol. The contribution of the NICT included multicore fibers (MCFs) and new transmission techniques based on self-homodyne detection (SHD (News - Alert)).
The bandwidth and quality of transport were achieved through the OpenFlow interface, by dynamically configuring the network nodes in such a way the network is able to effectively deal with application specific traffic requirements.
According to researchers, the realization of multicore fiber networks is one big step closer as OpenFlow continues to grow in popularity.
OpenFlow is a programmable network protocol designed to manage and direct traffic among routers and switches. It allows more control so traffic can be managed more efficiently than traditional network protocols.
"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,” said Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Head of the High Performance Networks Group at the University of Bristol. “Up to now, however, SDN has been applied only to optical networks based on single-core fibers and therefore restricted to the capacity bottlenecks of the current fiber infrastructure."
Edited by Alisen Downey
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