Feeds

Want faster fibre? Get rid of the glass

Hollow fibre propagates optics near speed of light

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

One of the most irritating expressions people can use, “broadband at the speed of light”, is a little closer to coming true thanks to researchers from the University of Southampton, who have demonstrated air-filled fibres with propagation happening at 99.7 percent of c.

In a conventional fibre, the glass acts as a waveguide: the core and its cladding have different refractive indices, which means the optical signal follows the path you want. In the solid core, light can only propagate at roughly 70 percent of the speed of light in a vacuum.

Through air, light moves more quickly, so there's been a long-running thread in research to do just that: propagate the light through air, and use the fibre to confine it – rather like metal waveguides are used to guide microwave-frequency signals.

This has been known for ages, and a search turns up years of research into air waveguides for optical signals. What the University of Southampton researchers are claiming (abstract) in Nature Photonics is to have solved the problems of loss and coupling that the air solution encounters.

By getting propagation speed up to 99.7 percent from 70 percent of light-speed, the best-case trip from Australia to the US would be cut from about 43 milliseconds to about 30 milliseconds (ignoring router hops and regeneration). In the world of long-distance communications, the lower latency would be beloved of gamers, and also in the world of high-speed financial trading.

The researchers also note that success with air-filled fibre would be of benefit “inside the box” – for example, to help ship data between elements in supercomputers (since electricity can only limp through copper at about two-thirds light-speed).

They claim to have achieved 3.5 dB per kilometre loss, and the 160nm wide channel was enough to carry were able to send 37 WDM channels at 40 Gbps each. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.