A NICTA spin-off company, Monitoring Division, has developed a new fibre optic monitoring system that could help bring Australia broadband users closer to the rest of the world.
"Carriers and vendors are now looking for new ways to increase bandwidth without having to lay new fibre," said Sarah Dods, COO of Monitoring division. One such move is the upgrade from 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps -- by using 25 rather than 100 picoseconds pulses of light down fibre optic cable.
"The problem with [40 Gbps] is that it is a lot more sensitive," said Dods. "At [40 Gbps] you need to do some monitoring, and we have fairly clever ways of doing that monitoring."
Given that Australia is connected to the rest of the world via undersea fibre optic cable, Monitoring Division's technology has the potential to increase the speed of Australia's internet infrastructure.
"If the Rudd government gets to do its broadband deployment across the rest of Australia, there is going to have to be some big pipes between the cities to carry the traffic that is being generated," Dods said.
Analyst firm Ovum commented today on the rapid growth of fibre optic networks, noting that the The global optical networking market reached a new high of US$4.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. This was a 30 percent year-over-year gain.
One technology that Monitoring Division has acquired a commercial licence for is a new generation optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) monitoring system that is compatible with 40 Gbps fibre optic networks.
"OSNR is a key performance metric used to measure signal degradation," Monitoring Division said.
Monitoring Division is a spin off company of National ICT Australia (NICTA), who recently produced a high speed Wi-Fi chip. Through its relationship with NICTA, Monitoring Division has been able gain its commercial license agreement with Optium, a supplier of high performance optical subsystems.
Monitoring Division's technology is based primarily on software, according to David Wright, CEO of the company.
This software came in part from the study of genetics, where the same statistical techniques that are used in bioinformatics -- the study of genetic data -- were applied to fibre optic networks.