University of Southampton and Penn State researchers have demonstrated a technique to embed electronics into optical fibres, which if commercialised would enable simpler and cheaper telecommuniations kit. The idea, according to head of the university’s Optical Research Centre Dr Pier Sazio, is to build an electro-optical …
On the upside...
... easier connecting and all that. On the downside, differing standards and vendor lock-in. As long as the premium for the latter doesn't exceed the savings from the former, there's a niche for customers to shoot their own feet. Then again, you can always cut the fancypants parts off and bring out the fibre welding kit... as long as you know how to run it.
Not just lock-in...
While such a solution can be nice for a fibre patch cable (that you buy already "terminated" with such opto-electronic integration), it is quite useless for longer runs where you have to lay the fibre for hundreds of meters (or feet, o furlongs, or whatever) and then cut it and connect it. You should have the fibre pre-cut and pre-terminated at the right lenght, before you buy it.
when I read the headline
I thought this was going to be an article about wearable computers. I didn't even catch on when I read to the bit about cheaper infrastructure.
"What are they going to do, knit network cable?"
Southampton does it again
Differeing standards? Lockins? I have worked a little with fibre equipment and there is always a fibre in modules, this lowers the cost of that stage. It should also increase performance.
This is module level not system level. To connect a laser directly to a 2,000 km fibre would be risky at best.
You may also care to think about the all optical amplifier - invented at Southampton.
BTW it is called fusing not welding.
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