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Muli-path optical fibre modules

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ModeCore (Muli-path optical fibre modules)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2015-07-31

Demand for transmission bandwidth is forecast to continue to grow at 40% per annum for the foreseeable future , placing increasing pressure on current networks. The capacity of existing single mode fibres is finite given by the (nonlinear) Shannon Limit, which is estimated to be in the region of 100 Tbit/s. Current fibre networks will therefore be insufficient to handle demand at some point in the future. Although, 400G systems operating in the C&L-band will meet predicted demand toward the end of this decade, beyond that, more radical solutions will be required. Increasing the number of single mode fibres is one solution, but it has high cost and energy consumption implications. Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) options are being investigated globally with excellent results obtained from Few Mode Fibre (FMF) and Multi-Core Fibre (MCF) approaches. These solutions are designed to be backwards compatible with current single mode fibre (SMF) networks providing routes to a graceful upgrade strategy as illustrated in a recent FMF field trial transmitting live data.

Although SDM solutions are being investigated, the problem is that there are only few commercially available component products to build these systems. The business concept is to provide advanced optical fibre components, modules and sub-systems utilising new fibres; FMF and MCF.

The project objective is to develop two key modules for system development and the associated components to ensure a fully solid-state solution. The modules addressed will be the passive multiplexer/demultiplexer and the active Erbium doped amplifier. The product development will be undertaken strategically in conjunction with customers to ensure that their requirements are met. The technology used will ensure scalability to higher order core or mode count.
The feasibility assessment enabled a full business plan to be developed. Current technology status, competitive landscape, operator forecast and customer requirements were assessed. Potential partners and sub-contractors to develop the suite of products were identified and a roadmap with route to market defined. The business plan developed during the feasibility study creates a strong base to pursue the project.

The potential markets addressed by this project are global, not limited to Europe. Organisations throughout the world, with particularly large activities in Japan and USA, are developing systems requiring these components.

As part of the market potential assessment a concept amplifier was developed for discussion with customers (see image).
Results from this project have potentially high impact in that access to these key modules is essential to the full evaluation and realisation of SDM systems based on FMF and/or MCF. Phoenix is utilising its in-house technology to investigate these components at an early stage with a view to undertaking strategic growth in line with the maturing of this infant market.
Concept FM-EDFA for market assessment discussion