Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SAFARI Report Summary

Project ID: 642928
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SAFARI (Scalable And Flexible optical Architecture for Reconfigurable Infrastructure)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

SAFARI (Scalable And Flexible optical Architecture for Reconfigurable Infrastructure): SAFARI is an EU-Japan coordinated R&D project funded by the European Commission and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan. It will allow European and Japanese research institutions and industries to develop programmable optical hardware, and Space-Division Multiplexing (SDM)-based optical component technologies capable of realising highly scalable & flexible optical transport networks for the long term future.

Projects coordinators: Technical University of Denmark (DK), NTT Corporation (JP)
Partners: Technical University of Denmark (DK); University of Southampton (UK); Coriant R&D GmbH (DE); NTT Corporation (JP); Fujikura Ltd. (JP)
Duration: 10/2014 - 09/2017
Total cost: 1.5m € (EU), 225m JPY (1.67m €) (JP)
Programme: H2020-EUJ-2014

Context and motivation
Unrelenting exponential data traffic growth and bandwidth intensive applications are creating an urgent demand for highly scalable & flexible optical transport networks (OTNs). SAFARI will realise such optical transport by developing programmable optical hardware and Space-Division Multiplexing (SDM)-based optical component technologies.

Today’s digital coherent optical transport technologies based on digital signal processing (DSP) have allowed the commercial realisation of 100 Gbps/channel long-haul transport systems capable of providing more than 8 Tbps capacity per fibre in installed commercial networks. The introduction of such dynamic DSP functionality has dramatically reduced the network provisioning cost and inventory. However, capacity demands are ever increasing, and to address those requirements in the near future, it becomes indispensable to introduce various types of transport flexibility, for example in modulation format and subcarrier number for super channel transport. Such flexibility will be enabled by progress in DSP functionality in conjunction with flexible optical hardware. Control technologies to manage flexible hardware and transport will thus be urgently needed to provide telecom-carrier-grade reliability for the future OTNs with capacity beyond 10 Tbps. Furthermore, within the next 10 years, we will encounter the fundamental capacity limit of conventional single-mode fibres (SMFs) at around 100 Tbps due to optical fibre nonlinearity and limitations on the maximum allowable launched power.

SAFARI aims to develop programmable optical hardware, and SDM-based optical components capable of realising highly scalable and flexible OTNs. Specifically SAFARI will:
-Develop programmable optical hardware allowing novel multi-flow transport functions which is scalable to at least 400 Gbps/channel transport, and implement the critical interworking capability required between the software-defined network (SDN) layer and the physical layer.
-Develop SDM-based optical transport technology based on super-dense, high-count multicore fibres (MCFs) and multicore erbium-doped optical fibre amplifiers (MC-EDFAs).
-Undertake system experiments on scalable and flexible OTNs based on the technology developed within the project. Specific attention will be focussed on demonstrating that the SDN-controlled programmability developed is compatible with both existing single-mode-fibre transmission systems and future SDM-based systems, allowing for a graceful upgrade scenario.
-Bring together major organisations in both the EU nations and Japan in order to develop the most advanced enabling technologies, to demonstrate their feasibility in an international setting, and to jointly contribute to international standardisation and forum activities.

In order to realise scalable and flexible future OTNs with potential capacity well beyond 1 Pbps per fibre, SAFARI will enhance the state-of-the-art in the following critical technology areas:
•Flexible optical hardware with SDN-controlled programmability, first for

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

As European/Japanese coordinators, DTU and NTT organized two plenary meetings in Copenhagen, and Los Angeles (at OFC 2015), and more than five WP meetings during the first year to establish the project management, the scope of SAFARI project and to accelerate the consortium activities.

NTT produced a concept paper of SAFARI project with Coriant, and proposed to fix the white paper on the basic design of programmable optical hardware and its control. We further developed digital signal processing algorisms for inline MCF inter-core XT monitoring, and tested the transmission performance in both a 30-core fibre with heterogeneous structure as the 1st generation high-core-count fibre and a 31-core fibre with quasi-single-mode structure as the 2nd generation high-core-count fibre. Both fibres were designed and fabricated by DTU/Fujikura.

Fujikura designed and fabricated a 30-core MCF with a heterogeneous structure as the 1st generation high-core-count fibre and a 31-core fibre with quasi-single-mode structure as the 2nd generation high-core-count fibre and presented their results at OFC 2015 and ECOC 2015, respectively. We also presented an invited paper on high-count MCFs at ECOC 2015.

DTU launched a SAFARI website on November 24, 2014 and started to disseminate SAFARI activities. The initial MCF specification was provided by DTU based on their recently developed analytical model. High-count homogeneous MCFs with a total number of cores of 24 and 32 were designed. However, it was found that for a 32-core fibre with propagation-direction interleaving the highest XT level observed for one of the cores (-23 dB at 1550 nm over 100 km) was too high for high capacity MCF transmission. To further reduce the XT, a heterogeneous core arrangement was then considered in addition to propagation-direction interleaving, where a heterogeneous 32-core fibre with 2 types of cores resulted in a worst XT level of -30 dB at 1550 nm over 100 km. It was concluded that to achieve an MCF of more than 30 cores without adopting propagation-direction interleaving, a heterogeneous core arrangement with more than 2 types of cores is necessary.

Southampton’s work on MC-EDFA development has progressed well during year 1 of the project. In order to build capability and to reduce both cost and risk we initially focussed efforts on the fabrication of a 7-core EDFA in order to understand the underpinning technical and physical issues to be anticipated with a much larger core count fibre. Initially we produced a 7-core passive fibre matched to an existing 7-core transmission fibre from Fujikura to prove that we were able to accurately produce fibres to a tightly specified target geometry. Having successfully proven the ability to achieve an accurate geometry we then successfully produced a 7-core active fibre matched to the existing 7-core transmission fibre using commercial Er/Yb doped preforms purchased from Fujikura. At the same time we are progressing with the development of our own in-house Er/Yb core preform manufacturing technique. We have subsequently undertaken both passive fibre characterisation and active amplifier trials confirming state-of-the-art performance of the fibre in terms of core gain balance, spectral flatness and noise figure. In addition we have demonstrated a robust and reliable side-pumping configuration that allows for fully monolithic amplifier construction and have demonstrated a first generation of in-line multicore isolator and filter devices. We are now progressing to systems trials of the 7-core amplifier with project partners NTT and Coriant whilst producing a first generation 30-core passive fibre matched to the high core count transmission fibre designed and developed by project partners DTU/Fujikura.

Coriant has worked with NTT on the basic design and architecture for the control layer for MCF based networks. The results of this work was included in deliverable D3.1 (White paper). As part of this work, a thorough investi

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SAFARI will address the development and applications of super-capacity OTNs which are capable of supporting several orders of magnitude increase in capacity with manageable flexibility in the control and management of optical transport networks, and will provide a pathway to the industrial development of software defined optical networking.

SAFARI will enhance the performance of leading edge European and Japanese SDN and SDM technologies. At the same time it will provide a new and potentially disruptive capability to the European and Japanese optical communications industry. SAFARI will specifically develop the necessary optical hardware, key components and optical transport technologies necessary to ensure European and Japanese Research and Technological Development leadership in this field. This is enabled by a consortium comprising a world-leading network operator, system vendor and fibre manufacturer, as well as two leading universities. Thus, SAFARI provides leadership all the way from components (MCFs and multicore amplifiers), through sub-systems, systems and networks.

In terms of scientific/technological impact on transmission capacity, we have first proposed and demonstrated a dense space division multiplexing (DSDM) system based on MCF that uses more than 30 single mode cores. As a result the DSDM system concept has now penetrated into the academic SDM system research community. Two different high-core count MCFs with more than 30 single-mode cores have already been designed and fabricated, establishing world records well beyond the state of art. The fibres have the potential of transmitting more than 3 Pbps per fibre - well beyond the present world record of 2 Pbps per fibre (set recently at ECOC 2015). As the capacity limit of present commercial fibre is estimated to be around 100 Tbps (0.1 Pbps), our new fibres will support more than 30 times more capacity than existing fibres and offer substantial potential cost reductions per bit when used in conjunction with the multicore EDFAs being developed within the SAFARI project.

The new technology is ultimately expected to deliver improved broadband services (faster, more reliable, increased functionality) which will benefit commerce and the general public alike. It is also likely to find uses in many other sectors reliant on optical fibres including for improved sensor systems (used in many environmental monitoring applications, the discovery and monitoring of oil reserves, medicine etc.), and the development of higher power industrial lasers (used in a host of manufacturing processes, surgery etc.).

Related information

Record Number: 186332 / Last updated on: 2016-07-11