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Networking The Internet Math News Science

Scientists Map Spiraling Light For Faster Net 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the data-in-the-fiber-goes-round-and-round dept.
Mark.JUK writes "Scientists working at New York's Institute of Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers have discovered a new way of mapping the multiple higher channels / more complex light in an optical fibre, which could allow telecommunications operators the ability to harness 'untapped data channels' and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the world. Critically, the new model allows scientists to follow polarization and other changes as light travels, which also gives you an insight into the material that it travels through. Until recently it wasn't possible to map such light, but all that has changed thanks to the globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere model."
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Scientists Map Spiraling Light For Faster Net

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  • I can't wait for them to replace all that unused fiber with more unused fiber.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You use the same fibre it just makes is "darker" - since now you can light up even less of it.

      • by Reelin (2447528)
        This was my thought too when I read this headline.

        and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the world (outside the US)

        FTFY

        Also, In case anyone wants a source. [youtube.com]

      • Blacker than the blackest black...times infinity.

        • Maxwell Smart:
          "Ah, the old 'Black Hole Network' trick.
          Gee, Chief, isn't that what KAOS used to build their Top Secret headquarters, 'Hotel KAOSifornia', where your data checks in, but never leaves?" [1]

          Agent 99:
          "No, Max, that has nothing to do with what TFA is talking about!"

          Chief:
          *facepalms, again*

          What? [3]

          [1]*Ronco® style infomercial ahead*
          "The most reliable, insanely secure, and long lasting data storage/backup solution ever! And its FREE!
          It works just like a black hole, data gets suc

    • I can't wait for them to replace all that unused fiber with more unused fiber.

      You dawg, we heard you liked Internetting so we put some unused fiber in your unused fibe.... ah, sod it- fill in the rest yourselves!

    • Unused Fiber: The main cause of American Obesity.

      Mom: Billy eat your vegetables
      Billy: But Mooom, they aren't even deep fried!
  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday August 26, 2011 @05:11PM (#37223512) Homepage Journal

    ...and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the rest of the world outside of the United States!....

    FTFY. I think there is more than enough evidence to point to the fact that shitty boradband speeds in the United States are due to politics, greed, corruption, and outright laziness more than a lack of technology.

    • by nomel (244635)

      ...and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the rest of the world outside of the United States while marginally decreasing the time it takes to hit the bandwidth caps inside the United States!....

  • Well, he did promise to have us "twirling, twirling towards the future"...

  • At least, not here in the U.S..

    In fact, it'd probably be just the excuse they've been waiting for to charge us more.

  • by seanmcelroy (207852) on Friday August 26, 2011 @05:17PM (#37223564) Homepage Journal

    Great, and the big providers will still cap us to cable speeds from a decade ago and charge for overages!

    • A) Not true, 108Mbps speeds (see Comcast) where not available 10 years ago on cable modems (DOCSIS3.0 which allows for multiple bonded channels allowed this) B) 100GbE router cards are still in there infancy, and unfortunately the much older 10GbE cards run most of the worlds modern backbones including transoceanic lines. Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel, etc. have had trouble meeting the demand. That means at least for the next several years, barring major trunk additions, ISPs are going to have issues upgrading ba
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday August 26, 2011 @05:19PM (#37223578)

    ...thanks to the globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere model.

    Here's to HOPS!

  • From the TFA:

    The problem is that, until now, it hasn't been possible to map the multiple higher channels / more complex light in an optical fibre.

    This complex light doesn't have "simple" peaks and troughs, like waves on an ocean, and instead moves and twists like a tornado as it travels through space. The solution to this problem is a globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere (HOPS) model.

    While I kinda know what mapping to a higher order Poincare [wikipedia.org] sphere is, I am naively surprised that light "twists like a tornado", and I don't really understand from TFA how that relates to the poincare sphere. Does someone know more about it?

    • Based on the diagrams in the article, it looks like either spatial multiplexing of light signals within a fiber or polarization multiplexing or both. "Tornado" might refer to how the light turns when it's being refracted and/or reflected by the sides of the fiber.
    • by Kreigaffe (765218)

      I.. ohh boy. I should know or at least understand basically what is going on here. It's all physics after all.

      after careful consideration and research... I. ohh. man.

      it's magic.

      ok, ok, it's only half magic. I tried tackling it from the Poincare end first, but that.. that uh, no. Then I RTFA :D

      It looks like this is just using Poincare magic to understand and map how polarized light travels through fiber optic cables, and more specifically how circularly polarized light behaves -- the end result bein

      • by nomel (244635)

        Is circular polarization not preserved in fiber optic cables?

      • I'm pretty sure it involves routing something through the main deflector. Probably also going to need some inverted tachyons. I think I have some lying around somewhere I can let go at a discount.

      • by rb12345 (1170423)

        Having eventually found the actual paper [doi.org], it looks like it's trying to describe beams with orbital angular momentum (where, if you cut through the beam, the phase of the light depends on the position) in a similar way to that used for linearly or circularly polarized light. The paper itself is entirely theoretical work, but the results will hopefully be used in future experiments to carry more data, pretty much as the parent post says.

        • With a viewpoint looking down the fiber, these would be the rays that precess around like flowers and that generally avoid the center axis. Previous analytical techniques were unable to solve for photon wave functions with photons bearing certain nonzero quantum numbers that are not well understood for photons in fibers. We weren't good with photons that bear angular momentum with respect to the fiber and that generally avoid the center axis. Unless we assume certain symmetries with respect to clockwise or
  • by mehemiah (971799) on Friday August 26, 2011 @06:29PM (#37224090) Homepage Journal
    this is a fast application of the Poincare conjecture. It was only solved a few years ago.
    • by Opyros (1153335)
      Is it necessary, though, to have a rigorous proof before you can apply it? I wouldn't think so, but I'd like to know more of the details.
    • by Kreigaffe (765218)

      no joke, i'm pretty impressed. i couldn't even understand the poincare problem, let alone the solution, and it looks like these guys saw it and already had a problem sitting around waiting for Poincare to allow them to solve it. sometimes, humanity.. sometimes you're alright.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Not the same thing, even though both things have the words "sphere" and "poincare" in them. Sorry to burst your 2-sphere bubble!
  • by Mister Transistor (259842) on Friday August 26, 2011 @08:18PM (#37224710) Journal

    Now light-speed communications are even faster, since they raised the speed of light in 2011!

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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