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UNNC-led research enables superfast Internet

Zhang yaping

Professor Yaping Zhang

A team of researchers, led by UNNC’s Professor Yaping Zhang, recently made an important breakthrough that it is believed will lead to greatly increased internet speeds, particularly in remote or outlying communities.

Professor Zhang, who had previously been involved with the development of the “tunable laser” - used in Internet data streaming - worked with her team to perfect a more affordable version of the device. The resulting “Economic Tunable Laser” is much more likely to be utilized to facilitate so-called wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), a key technology in high speed internet, telephony and video links.

 Professor Zhang believes that her team’s research should lead to a dramatic easing in the “bottlenecking” of Internet data. “The optical fiber to the home - the last mile - is just like a road or motorway,” she explained. “It is already built, but all the cars are queuing in one lane. What this technology does is introduce a lot of new lanes for the cars – around eighty or a hundred times more than now.”

 However, Professor Zhang is quick to point out that her team does not claim credit for the original tunable laser, but has rather supplemented and refined existing hardware.

 “Tunable laser technology was known and already available. The only hurdle in the past has been the cost,” she said. “What our research has done is to make it economical, affordable and therefore available for common use.”

Posted on 6 December 2016