Fibre Optic Gets Boost from American Research

Cable installation training from TNS Europe

The future of fibre optic data cabling has received a literal boost from researchers at the University of California San Diego who have come up with a way to increase the distance of data signals without adding to signal loss or distortion. If their research proves commercially viable, it could extend the range of fibre optic networks significantly. It could mean we are but one step closer to connecting all of Europe with high-speed, fibre optic cabling.

The American researchers looked to tackle the difficult problem of single distortion known as 'crosstalk'. This crosstalk occurs when additional power is added to a fibre optic cable in order to carry signals further. There is a certain threshold at which no more power can be added without causing the interference that results in signal distortion. Consequently, the length of fibre optic networks is physically limited.

Getting around the problem with current technology requires using a series of signal amplifiers, transformers, and repeaters. However, this is not a foolproof system. There are still inherent limits to the overall length of fibre optic networks because of distortion. What the researchers at UC San Diego figured out changes everything.

Physical Laws Observed

Research team member Stojan Radic told Tech Week Europe that the crosstalk that occurs within fibre optic cabling obeys a particular set of physical laws. The team was able to observe those laws, and then create something they called ‘frequency combs’ to predict how and when crosstalk would occur. Successful predictions allowed them to produce a signal receiver capable of filtering out crosstalk over significant distances by essentially reverse engineering the signals.

Tech Week Europe says that the UC San Diego team was able to send a signal across 12 km of fibre cable and cleanly decipher it on the other end. Their experiments included networks with three and five optical channels. The team says it is possible to replicate their success on cables with up to 32 channels.

A Brighter Future

Thanks to the hard work of the UC San Diego research team, the future of fibre optic cabling looks brighter today than it did a few months ago. Fibre optic cabling is still the preferred choice for high-speed networks covering great distances due to its many advantages over copper. Nevertheless, in order to push fibre optic further, the distance issue has to be solved. UC San Diego researchers have apparently made great strides in doing so.

This is good news to TNS Europe and all of our students whose goal is to establish careers in the data cabling industry. We offer courses covering the design, installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of both fibre optic and copper networks of all sizes. We also train advanced students in telephony and network integration involving both data and voice.

The data cabling industry will continue to be in need of certified and experienced technicians well into the future. As networks grow, we will need more people to install and troubleshoot them. It is a career you should consider if you are looking for something with long-term stability and excellent pay. TNS Europe has the classes you need to earn industry-leading certification for the most popular applications. Certification is your open door to a rewarding career.


1.Tech Week Europe –