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Scientists Map Spiraling Light For Faster Net

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the data-in-the-fiber-goes-round-and-round dept.

Networking 62

Mark.JUK writes "Scientists working at New York's Institute of Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers have discovered a new way of mapping the multiple higher channels / more complex light in an optical fibre, which could allow telecommunications operators the ability to harness 'untapped data channels' and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the world. Critically, the new model allows scientists to follow polarization and other changes as light travels, which also gives you an insight into the material that it travels through. Until recently it wasn't possible to map such light, but all that has changed thanks to the globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere model."

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spiraling light is very entertaining (0)

Crazy_entertainer (2442572) | about 3 years ago | (#37223376)

I use it all the time for my shows [clownsong.com] .

Hurra! (-1, Offtopic)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37223396)

Scientists enable even more spam!
and trolling!

Re:Hurra! (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 years ago | (#37223416)

Until recently it wasn't possible to map such light, but all that has changed thanks to the globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere model."

I understand a globe-shaped sphere, but what's a globe-shaped model? And how does it enable more spam and trolling?

Re:Hurra! (3, Insightful)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37223464)

Even though many readers of slashdot are themselves globe shaped, they would rather spend their time trolling than looking at globe shaped models.

Re:Hurra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226184)

Thats only half correct, i prefer looking at slim models than trolling.

Re:Hurra! (5, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | about 3 years ago | (#37223506)

And how does it enable more spam and trolling?

I believe the intended logic was "more internet bandwidth == more internet traffic == more spam".

It's a special case of the standard Slashdot curmudgeon technique, where you demonstrate how experienced and knowledgable you are by interpreting any piece of potentially good news as definite bad news. If you do it enough times, you win a patch of lawn to keep children off of.

Re:Hurra! (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37223754)

The implies there is a spammer somewhere saying "I would spam, but the bandwidth isn't quite there yet."

Their army of zombie PCs (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37224036)

Of course there is. All spammers want their army of zombie PCs to push out more crap per minute.

Re:Their army of zombie PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226372)

Are the botnets CPU limited or network limited?

Re:Hurra! (1)

ancienthart (924862) | about 3 years ago | (#37225492)

It's a special case of the standard Slashdot curmudgeon technique, where you demonstrate how experienced and knowledgable you are by interpreting any piece of potentially good news as definite bad news. If you do it enough times, you win a patch of lawn to keep children off of.

And the 2nd tier achievement gives you a stick to wave at them.

Re:Hurra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226058)

So I could say:
more spam == more internet traffic
I doubt that.

Re:Hurra! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37225272)

Is that anything like a grail shaped beacon?

Re:Hurra! (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37223670)

And porn. Don't forget porn.

So what does this solve? (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 3 years ago | (#37223410)

I can't wait for them to replace all that unused fiber with more unused fiber.

Re:So what does this solve? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223440)

You use the same fibre it just makes is "darker" - since now you can light up even less of it.

Re:So what does this solve? (1)

Reelin (2447528) | about 3 years ago | (#37223594)

This was my thought too when I read this headline.

and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the world (outside the US)

FTFY

Also, In case anyone wants a source. [youtube.com]

Re:So what does this solve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223928)

No, no, it won't be darker. It'll just be dark in different ways!

...I'm not sure I understand what this does either. Are they using the different polarizations of light to effectively make a parallel cable instead of a serial one? Why not start with messing around with wavelengths, wouldn't that be easier to figure out on the receiving end?

Re:So what does this solve? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37224120)

Why not start with messing around with wavelengths, wouldn't that be easier to figure out on the receiving end?

Because this is not the '80s*.

You do realize that we're already doing that, right? And have been for some time?

* I'm hedging here -- I wasn't involved back then, and I'm too lazy to research now, but I think _starting_ multi-wavelength work was actually before the '80s.

Re:So what does this solve? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 3 years ago | (#37225920)

I don't think it really made a commercial splash until 2000. We were working on it then, just the network hardware, not the optical stuff.
I think the phone cos have been working on it /using it since the 80's

Re:So what does this solve? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37224010)

Blacker than the blackest black...times infinity.

Warning...offtopic attempt at humour ahead... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 3 years ago | (#37226192)

Maxwell Smart:
"Ah, the old 'Black Hole Network' trick.
Gee, Chief, isn't that what KAOS used to build their Top Secret headquarters, 'Hotel KAOSifornia', where your data checks in, but never leaves?" [1]

Agent 99:
"No, Max, that has nothing to do with what TFA is talking about!"

Chief:
  *facepalms, again*

What? [3]

[1]*Ronco® style infomercial ahead*
"The most reliable, insanely secure, and long lasting data storage/backup solution ever! And its FREE!
It works just like a black hole, data gets sucked in, never escapes. Ever.
Really cuts down on IT costs with data security and backup solutions...it all happens automagically! Literally sucked in!
Sneer at hackers, employee 'theft' of data, and forgotten laptops/iPhones/ USB sticks in bars!

For a limited time, we have a super special introductory offer of our 'White Hole Data Recovery and Restore' subscription service for only $10.00 USD per month! [2]
Yes! You heard that correctly, only ten bucks a month for all your recovery and restore needs!"

[2]*ultra-fine print...in fact, you need a microfiche reader to read it! Hint: look on the BACK of the 'Beware of Leopard' sign*
$10.00 USD per month for each CPU core in your total business...multiplied by $1.00 USD per MB of RAM total in same business....multiplied by $100.00 USD per computer in same business...remitted in cash at the beginning of each month.
10 year contract required to be eligible for the super special introductory offer.
Offer void if you don't also sign over any first-born male children, all virgin daughters, and nude pics of any non-virgin daughters, and/or wife/girlfriend with an option to include them in the sign-up deal.

[3]Beer makes me funny?
Sorry....;-)

Only America has unused fiber. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223546)

What you describe is a uniquely American phenomenon. It's only like that because your economy is so poor at allocating resources. Your business "leaders" bounce from one short-term speculative bubble to the next, rather than growing business consistently and effectively over time. This results in poor planning and terrible infrastructure. Between 1998 and 2001, it was laying down huge amounts of unused fiber. 2002 to 2005 was building shitty homes. 2005 to 2008 was buying worthless financial instruments.

In the rest of the world, we've built up our fiber networks slowly over time, as actual need arises. This has allowed us to save a significant amount of money that we've been able to put towards other things, such as health care and education. This technology may let us get more use out of our existing fiber with very little investment, which is a huge win for us.

Don't forget that much of the American dark fiber has been untouched for well over a decade. It may very well be badly deteriorated or damaged in some areas. The cost of merely testing it before bringing it online could very well be financially infeasible.

Re:Only America has unused fiber. (2)

Reelin (2447528) | about 3 years ago | (#37223648)

Actually that's not entirely true, the primary reason for our unused fiber is lack of the open access agreements/requirements which other countries have instated.

The cost of merely testing it before bringing it online could very well be financially infeasible.

You going to cite that? Because I have trouble believing it.

Re:Only America has unused fiber. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223736)

Seems most of the comments here and with most technology related articles on slashdot are full of jaded cynicism, and a realisation that growth = more concentration of wealth and new technology = more effective ways of controlling the masses. I wonder how much more optimistic this ad hoc sampling of opinions from generally clued in, intelligent westerners would have been only a decade ago? It's surely a bad time to be middle class and american. The time of the eastern middle class (who don't mind being controlled, but reap the benefits of long term, directed leadership) has arrived.

X-Zibitionism (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 3 years ago | (#37224122)

I can't wait for them to replace all that unused fiber with more unused fiber.

You dawg, we heard you liked Internetting so we put some unused fiber in your unused fibe.... ah, sod it- fill in the rest yourselves!

Re:So what does this solve? (1)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | about 3 years ago | (#37225290)

Unused Fiber: The main cause of American Obesity.

Mom: Billy eat your vegetables
Billy: But Mooom, they aren't even deep fried!

wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223450)

okay, when internet is faster than the speed of light its time to stop...

new fiber required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223502)

How many of the existing fibers are polarization maintaining? It may be more cost effective to just lay more cheap fiber than put in pm fiber.

Well, Not Across the World (5, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 3 years ago | (#37223512)

...and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the rest of the world outside of the United States!....

FTFY. I think there is more than enough evidence to point to the fact that shitty boradband speeds in the United States are due to politics, greed, corruption, and outright laziness more than a lack of technology.

Re:Well, Not Across the World (1)

nomel (244635) | about 3 years ago | (#37225308)

...and thus improve broadband speeds and internet capacity across the rest of the world outside of the United States while marginally decreasing the time it takes to hit the bandwidth caps inside the United States!....

Thank you, Kodos! (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 3 years ago | (#37223518)

Well, he did promise to have us "twirling, twirling towards the future"...

Maybe, but it won't make broadband cheaper.. (1)

intellitech (1912116) | about 3 years ago | (#37223540)

At least, not here in the U.S..

In fact, it'd probably be just the excuse they've been waiting for to charge us more.

Re:Maybe, but it won't make broadband cheaper.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223582)

Well, obviously. It'll enable you to reach the cap faster. That'll be $5 more.

Re:Maybe, but it won't make broadband cheaper.. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37224034)

No, should decrease costs for the ISPs though. They'll install this around the same time they start charging you overage for passing too many packets per minute.

I wouldn't be surprised if.. (1)

intellitech (1912116) | about 3 years ago | (#37224212)

I wouldn't be surprised if they apply for (or receive) grants for implementing the necessary changes to their hardware infrastructure.

Won't affect us downstream (4, Insightful)

seanmcelroy (207852) | about 3 years ago | (#37223564)

Great, and the big providers will still cap us to cable speeds from a decade ago and charge for overages!

Re:Won't affect us downstream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223626)

No, no. Have a little faith.
When the telcos finally run this tech everywhere in the 2020's, they'll cap us to the speeds we have today.

Re:Won't affect us downstream (2)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about 3 years ago | (#37223866)

A) Not true, 108Mbps speeds (see Comcast) where not available 10 years ago on cable modems (DOCSIS3.0 which allows for multiple bonded channels allowed this) B) 100GbE router cards are still in there infancy, and unfortunately the much older 10GbE cards run most of the worlds modern backbones including transoceanic lines. Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel, etc. have had trouble meeting the demand. That means at least for the next several years, barring major trunk additions, ISPs are going to have issues upgrading backbones network capacity to meet quickly growing demand.

Re:Won't affect us downstream (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | about 3 years ago | (#37226176)

Yet still, somehow, the average broadband speeds are faster in Poland than in USA! Not to mention that data caps are non-existent on copper connections (both DSL and TV cable).

And it's not like we don't use Facebook, YouTube and p2p here.

Re:Won't affect us downstream (1)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about 3 years ago | (#37230408)

Poland has 15% broadband penetration. That means they have 1/20th the amount of subscribers.

In addition you are actually just straight up lying, Poland has an average speed of 4Mbps, falls to 1.6Mbps according to speedtest.net. [bbc.co.uk] , where as the US has: has an average speed of 8Mbps according to the OECD, although it is nearly half this (4.6Mbps) according to speedtest.net." [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Won't affect us downstream (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | about 3 years ago | (#37230872)

speedtest results aren't statistically sound, article you're citing is from 4 years ago. And to top it off, we don't even see "no limits" used in advertising anymore as it has become so obvious. Besides that, it's cheaper.

Raise your beer! (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 3 years ago | (#37223578)

...thanks to the globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere model.

Here's to HOPS!

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37223644)

So once I get that fiber access I was promised 10 years ago it'll be even faster... I'm sure it'll be here any day now. :) Right?

Complex light? (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | about 3 years ago | (#37223926)

From the TFA:

The problem is that, until now, it hasn't been possible to map the multiple higher channels / more complex light in an optical fibre.

This complex light doesn't have "simple" peaks and troughs, like waves on an ocean, and instead moves and twists like a tornado as it travels through space. The solution to this problem is a globe-shaped Higher Order Poincare Sphere (HOPS) model.

While I kinda know what mapping to a higher order Poincare [wikipedia.org] sphere is, I am naively surprised that light "twists like a tornado", and I don't really understand from TFA how that relates to the poincare sphere. Does someone know more about it?

Multiplexing (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37224062)

Based on the diagrams in the article, it looks like either spatial multiplexing of light signals within a fiber or polarization multiplexing or both. "Tornado" might refer to how the light turns when it's being refracted and/or reflected by the sides of the fiber.

Re:Multiplexing (1)

CPNABEND (742114) | about 3 years ago | (#37224836)

Isn't that called DWDM?

Re:Complex light? (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 3 years ago | (#37224698)

I.. ohh boy. I should know or at least understand basically what is going on here. It's all physics after all.

after careful consideration and research... I. ohh. man.

it's magic.

ok, ok, it's only half magic. I tried tackling it from the Poincare end first, but that.. that uh, no. Then I RTFA :D

It looks like this is just using Poincare magic to understand and map how polarized light travels through fiber optic cables, and more specifically how circularly polarized light behaves -- the end result being that we can differentiate and individualize the light waves in the cable to a greater degree than currently (I could be wrong but I believe right now the multiple channels per strand are simply different wavelengths of light).

Er, well, the end result being that if this can be made practical, we might just be able to use not only different wavelengths of light as different channels but also different polarizations of light.. which if it works, would be huge. It started with just light blinking on and off through the fiber, and then we went to a few wavelengths of light each independently carrying information, and this would let us use different wavelengths AND different polarizations of light at each wavelength to transmit data. Which is a Big Fucking Deal.

As to how... and how Poincare fits into the picture... er, well, there's your magic. I'm not bad with broad concepts but details make my brain bleed :|

Re:Complex light? (1)

nomel (244635) | about 3 years ago | (#37225324)

Is circular polarization not preserved in fiber optic cables?

Re:Complex light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225906)

AFAIK, not unless the fibers are the polarization-maintaining type.

Re:Complex light? (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | about 3 years ago | (#37226174)

I'm pretty sure it involves routing something through the main deflector. Probably also going to need some inverted tachyons. I think I have some lying around somewhere I can let go at a discount.

Re:Complex light? (1)

rb12345 (1170423) | about 3 years ago | (#37226654)

Having eventually found the actual paper [doi.org] , it looks like it's trying to describe beams with orbital angular momentum (where, if you cut through the beam, the phase of the light depends on the position) in a similar way to that used for linearly or circularly polarized light. The paper itself is entirely theoretical work, but the results will hopefully be used in future experiments to carry more data, pretty much as the parent post says.

Re:Complex light? (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 3 years ago | (#37228488)

With a viewpoint looking down the fiber, these would be the rays that precess around like flowers and that generally avoid the center axis. Previous analytical techniques were unable to solve for photon wave functions with photons bearing certain nonzero quantum numbers that are not well understood for photons in fibers. We weren't good with photons that bear angular momentum with respect to the fiber and that generally avoid the center axis. Unless we assume certain symmetries with respect to clockwise or counterclockwise motion not happening, we don't know how to solve the Schrodinger equations, like with electrons in helium, and so we have no motive to shine that kind of light down fibers, although we certainly might want to extract the bandwidth. These people figured out something to do with the model needing to take the non-orbital spin angular momentum into account also.

Poincare conjectue (2)

mehemiah (971799) | about 3 years ago | (#37224090)

this is a fast application of the Poincare conjecture. It was only solved a few years ago.

Re:Poincare conjectue (1)

Opyros (1153335) | about 3 years ago | (#37224430)

Is it necessary, though, to have a rigorous proof before you can apply it? I wouldn't think so, but I'd like to know more of the details.

Re:Poincare conjectue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37226644)

This is correct. For many years before the official proof was known, papers were being published containing phrases like "assuming that the Poincare conjecture holds..." It was all a bit of a gamble by the mathematicians involved but I guess it paid off in the end, lack of a proof about something "almost certain" didn't stand too much in the way of progress in that area.

Re:Poincare conjectue (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 3 years ago | (#37224714)

no joke, i'm pretty impressed. i couldn't even understand the poincare problem, let alone the solution, and it looks like these guys saw it and already had a problem sitting around waiting for Poincare to allow them to solve it. sometimes, humanity.. sometimes you're alright.

Re:Poincare conjectue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225036)

Here's the Poincare conjecture: If it looks like a 3 dimensional sphere, it is.

Re:Poincare conjectue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37225134)

Not the same thing, even though both things have the words "sphere" and "poincare" in them. Sorry to burst your 2-sphere bubble!

Re:Poincare conjectue (1)

mehemiah (971799) | about 3 years ago | (#37230410)

thanks :-( i should have RTFA or at least asked if it was the same thing.

Good News, Everyone! (2)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 3 years ago | (#37224710)

Now light-speed communications are even faster, since they raised the speed of light in 2011!

I can has more Porn? (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | about 3 years ago | (#37224866)

HOPS ftw!
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