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More bandwidth for last mile

Will Garside
A Wideband Wave Division Multiplexing (WWDM) solution currently undergoing trials at the University of Washington could enable faster transmission of data by increasing fibre bandwidth by up to 50%, writes Will Garside.

The technique, developed by fibre optic specialist Canoga Perkins, is the first to use the previously untapped 1400 nanometer (nm) band of optical fibre.

Gary Williams, director at Canoga Perkins, explained, "The core technology has been around since the early 1990s. It is used mainly for long distance cables such as London to New York but is expensive to install and operate. The WWDM variation is a solution for the last mile.

"In standard single-mode optical fibre there was previously a wavelength that we were unable to use due to technological limitations and impurities in the fibre. By using this technique and Lucent's Allwave fibre technology, we can now exploit this additional wavelength for data and applications."

Canoga claimed that the technology will allow more data channels without additional cable to be installed. "We have plans for eight- and 12-channel solutions later on this year, dependent on the availability of specialist laser components," said Williams.

Yum Petkovic, a specialist in networks and technology at analyst group Ovum, commented, "I can see this as a solution which would appeal greatly to established operators who offer services through their own local loop, because it addresses the two areas of potential bandwidth bottlenecks - the metro and the access [to premises]."


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