Science, politics and the optics of broadband


It was a long time ago when I started my love affair with optical networks and broadband. It started with covering long-forgotten companies such as UUNet Technologies and PSINet. It involved long-forgotten names such as Northern Telecom long before it become Nortel(s nt). So perhaps, you can’t fault me for feeling excited about reading the news that Alcatel-Lucent(s alu) Bell Labs identified an optical networking breakthrough that would theoretically allow sending 400 gigabits of data over a distance of 7,900 miles.

While the news of 400G didn’t excite me as much, the distance over which they could send the data impressed me, as it had implications that go beyond the oohs-and-aahs of raw speed. And what more, if this breakthrough can be commercialized — say in five to 10 years (considering companies like JDS Uniphase(s jdsu) would have to make components) — we could see a big improvement in not…

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