Optoscribe, a world-leading supplier of 3D glass-based integrated photonics components, and Sumitomo Electric Industries, a world-class optical fiber cable and component manufacturing technology supplier, have teamed up with the University of L’Aquila, Italy, to deploy the world’s first multi-core fiber1 (MCF) testbed for space-division multiplexed2 (SDM) communications in a real-field environment.
This initiative is part of an experimental research project to help strengthen the telecommunications infrastructure of the city of L’Aquila, following a major earthquake which struck the city in 2009, destroying much of the city center.
As part of this project, Optoscribe’s fan-in/fan-out (FIFO) devices convert between multiple standard single-mode fibers (SMFs) and Sumitomo Electric’s MCFs. The use of MCF can dramatically increase the amount of data transferred across the optical fiber while minimising space. Over 6 kilometers of MCF cable has been installed, the majority of which is located in a walkable multi-service underground tunnel as part of an Optical Ring, the experimental optical network for INCIPICT (Innovating City Planning through Information and Communications Technologies), which was led by the University of L’Aquila, and funded by the Italian Government.
The MCF testbed will be used to host a wide range of R&D activities in the broad field of optical communications, and specifically in the area of SDM transmission over MCFs. These include device testing, transmissions and software-defined networking, also in conjunction with the ongoing 5G trial – L’Aquila is one of the five Italian sites selected for trialling 5G technologies. The testbed will serve to assess problems and requirements for MCFs installed in the real field, thereby contributing to the development of SDM transmission systems.
Nick Psaila, CEO of Optoscribe, said: “This announcement follows on from our previously announced strategic cooperation with Sumitomo Electric, and we are delighted to be involved in this ground-breaking project with Sumitomo Electric and the University of L’Aquila to help deploy the world’s first field-deployed testbed for MCF communications.”
Tatsuo Saitoh, Head of Optical Communication Laboratory of Sumitomo Electric, said: “We are pleased to announce the world’s first testbed for multi-core fiber (MCF) communications in a real-field environment in the city of L’Aquila. We believe this project will pave the way for realization of optical communications system using MCF and our future MCF products will solve customers’ challenges for ultra-high capacity communication.”
1 Multi-core fiber (MCF) is optical fiber with multiple cores in a glass cladding and is considered one of the most promising space-division multiplexed (SDM) transmission technologies to overcome the limitations of the conventional single-core fiber communication systems.
2 Space-division multiplexed transmission (SDM) is a transmission method for multiplexing signals using multiple spatial channels in optical fiber. Various fiber structures have been proposed to this end, including MCFs, where the fiber cores are used as spatial channels, and few mode fibers (FMF), where the fiber modes are used as spatial channels.