The transfer of information via fiber optics has always been limited by the Kerr effect, that results in signal noise and distortion as distances increase and/or more information is fed down the data pipeline. This distortion makes it difficult for receivers to pick out the data clearly causing a failure at the other end. Network developers typically solve this by installing repeaters along the line that help increase signal strength and clarity. Researchers at UC San Diego Qualcomm Institute believe they have finally found a way around this.
They have developed a method of using what they call “frequency combs” to condition the signal and allow receivers to determine where noise might occur and properly reconstruct the data being sent. This allows for a great capacity limit as it allows them to massively increase the amount of data being fed while still being able to retrieve it on the other end without distortion concerns. It also significantly decreases the cost of networks as it eliminates the need for repeaters and other expensive equipment used to prevent the noise along the way.
This effectively allows the ability to deliver more affordable pricing to customers as well. It also helps push us towards a connected future where “unlimited data” is less of a concern for ISPs, thus ending the headaches of throttled accounts and other sneaky tricks they use to help “preserve network integrity”.
If they are able to quickly apply this to current network installations, hopefully we will all see fiber running to our homes sooner than later. This will also allow ISPs to focus harder on speed and quality enhancements vs trickling speed increases that cripple our ability to expand faster down technology lane.