Bifrost boosts fiber-optic internet connections

10 May 2019
Kim Ulrik Schaumann

The Danish weekly newspaper Ingeniøren reports on how Bifrost boosts fiber-optic internet connections. Read a resume of the article here:

With an extra laser, Danish Bifrost Communications extends the range of the optical signals in fiber-optic internet connections. This saves large amounts of energy and removes threatening bottlenecks among consumers, writes Ingeniøren.

According to Ingeniøren, traffic on the internet only goes one way and that is up. In fact, the expectation is that data traffic will double from about 200 petabytes to close to 400 petabytes a month in 2022. This puts enormous pressure on the physical infrastructure in the form of fiber-optic internet connections, that increasingly transport everything from funny YouTube videos to time-critical production data around the world.

Danish Bifrost Communications, based at DTU in Lyngby, has developed an optical transceiver that extends the range and increases the number of users on fiber-optic internet connections.

“The internet requires higher bandwidth, and it requires doing something about the technology that sends data into the living rooms for consumers. If we continue with the existing methods, using only one signal per fiber-optic internet connection, the energy consumption of the data distribution will increase dramatically. In fact, Internet traffic is rising faster than the world’s energy production, so at some point the Internet will theoretically use more power than we can produce,”says Jesper Bevensee Jensen, Technical Director and co-founder of Bifrost Communications to Ingeniøren.

The company has developed a technology that makes it possible to insert an extra laser into the transceiver that is completely at the end user and amplifies the light coming in from fiber-optic internet connections This means that the signal has four times as long range as existing solutions, and that eight times as many clients can be put on the same fiber as today, where there are typically 32 clients per fiber, while Bifrost can reach 256 because they can transmit on multiple channels on one fiber optic connection, reports Ingeniøren.

»Our technology combines laser physics, fiber and electronic signal processing at once. There are no others who have succeeded in the past,” says Jesper Bevensee Jensen.

Four times longer range

The technology is based on so-called “coherent detection”, which is a well-known method in wireless communication systems that allows multiple optical channels to be used in the access network, which is the last link in a fiber-optic internet connection, before data reaches the consumer. It is the connection between a central office at the telecom operator and the end user. This is where Bifrost enters the scene and amplifies the signal.

»With an extra laser we can increase the range and the number of end users all the way into the access network. We can extend the range from 10 to 40 kilometers. This means that you can do without many of the central offices, for example TDC has more than 1,000 of them. It gives both fewer man hours and saves energy,”says Bo Pedersen, director of Bifrost Communications, adding:

“A conservative bid is that we can halve energy consumption, among other things. Because our process takes place locally and we therefore have no problems getting rid of the excess heat, which the large data centers and central offices are struggling with.”

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