The internet of tomorrow: Faster, better and cheaper

September 30, 2011 By Robert Perkins, University of Arizona
The internet of tomorrow: Faster, better and cheaper
A researcher in the College of Optical Sciences prepares an experimental setup for testing data transmission using light. Credit: College of Optical Sciences

The UA, USC and other institutions are building the future of communications using light.

Researchers from the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California and seven other institutions are attempting to save the Internet by making it cheaper, faster and better.

With the rising demand for outstripping the existing Internet capacity, scientists are turning to optoelectronic technology – transmitting data using light. The technology is well-established but is still being developed in order to handle the increasing data loads that users require.

In 2008, the National Science Foundation gave a five-year, $18.5 million grant to establish an engineering research center that is based at the UA and unites it with USC and the other universities in a collaboration known as the Center for Integrated Access Networks, or CIAN.

CIAN's goal is to solve the data crisis by bringing optoelectronic technology to its full potential.

"CIAN is aimed at transforming the Internet to a high-speed network that uses less energy, is more reliable so that it reconfigures itself around network impairments, is scalable to make it suitable for a growing number of end users, and is not too costly," said Nasser Peyghambarian, chair of photonics and aasers in the College of Optical Sciences at the UA.

"The UA and USC and seven other university partners are working together on improving the reliability of the network as well as the network speed and cost,” he said.

Other partner institutions in the CIAN are the University of California, San Diego; the California Institute of Technology; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University; Norfolk State University and Tuskegee University.

"We're using optics to enable higher capacity communications," said Alan Willner, Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering of the USC Dornsife College. Willner and Columbia professor Keren Bergman are leading the system and networking research for the group.

"I can send 10 gigabits per second across the backbone of the national ," Willner said. "The problem is, how do you get 10 gigabits to every home, every access point?"

Now in its fourth year, the nine-university collaboration has made important breakthroughs in transforming the way large amounts of data are transmitted.

In a paper published earlier this year in Optics Communications, a team of researchers including Willner and lead author Hacene Mahieddine Chaouch, a graduate research assistant at the UA, developed three new methods of restoring degraded optical signals – a key hurdle to overcome when transmitting big chunks of data.

Willner said he hopes that one day, computer terminals will come equipped with chips that use these methods to clean up damaged data.

Said Peyghambarian: "The Internet continues to transform people's lives, and collaborative projects like CIAN, allowed by NSF and industrial support, allows multiple schools around the world working together to push the boundaries of human knowledge."

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5 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2011
VD, normally I do not think very highly of your opinions, but for once I agree with you 100%.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2011
What a bunch of bullshit.

The fact is most service providers offer several tiers of higher speed service for a small premium and most Americans don't want it. If more people actually WANTED it it would be economical to implement and the cost would come down.

Americans are, by and large, behind many other developed nations in embracing technology, and especially science. This is largely due to our religious traditions and history. For example, America has one of the highest percentages of the population that do not believe in evolution of all of the first world nations.

I'm an American, and while this might make me ashamed there are many other aspects of this country that make me proud at the same time. Just don't misrepresent something to support your stupid bullshit about capitalism. If it wasn't for the profit incentive of a capitalist economy it's not even certain that computers or the internet would even exist today.
not rated yet Oct 01, 2011
Heed the words of Leonard E. Read, "I would have government defend the life and property of all citizens equally; protect all willing exchange; suppress and penalize all fraud, all misrepresentation, all violence, all predatory practices; invoke a common justice under law; and keep the records incidental to these functions. Even this is a bigger assignment than governments, generally, have proven capable of. Let governments do these things and do them well. Leave all else to men in free and creative effort."

As for unfettered capitalism, without unfettered information we are all doomed.
4 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2011
No way. Comcast etc. will still be exploiting their regional monopolies and charging $20 per month for what the rest of the world gets for less than $10. Internet needs to move to the electric utilities model - anyone can lease the physical lines to deliver their services. Real competition in all markets.
3 / 5 (2) Oct 02, 2011
Translation: Since Americans aren't willing to pay 10 times more than third world nations for the same internet speeds up from their current 8 times more, this proves that they don't want faster internet speeds.

Meanwhile Comcast, AT&T and the other American Providers continue to Milk Americans dry. Suckling deeply on the public teat.

You're an idiot and you know nothing about economics. Go live in a third world nation if you want "cheaper" internet.

Hint: Commodity price does not exist in a vacuum, it is largely determined by the economic conditions of the area in question. Mexicans might get high speed internet for 10 pesos a month, but only because they can pay the linesmen the same miserable wages and acquire the shitstained land for infrastructure for peanuts. Go to Mexico, make the equivalent of 10k a year, and get your "cheap" high speed internet, I beg you.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2011
Most people posting here have no idea what they are talking about.

Sure, Chinese might be able to get a gallon of milk for the equivalent of ten cents... have you thought to ask WHY? It's because they make MISERABLE wages, the companies can offer the products so cheaply because they pay the employees nothing and so the people cannot afford to pay more than that. Prices scale with wealth of an area, as wages go up prices are FORCED to go up as well, and vice-versa.

The same applies to internet service and everything else. The less companies pay employees the lower the average income of an area and the lower the prices of goods and services.

So please, all of you idiots complaining here go move to China, work in a factory with no safety regulations for a few thousand a year equivalent and get your "cheap" internet service... sounds fantastic!

The price you pay for internet service in this country reflects the higher wages for the employees, your neighbors and friends.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2011
Oh, and enjoy your "Iron Curtain" censored internet also...
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2011
Comcast on Tuesday night announced that its earnings for the second quarter were up 16 percent.

Revenue increased 50.5 percent to $14.3 billion

Great, good for them. People should have the opportunity to profit from their investments and efforts, that profit incentive drives invention and innovation, without it the public probably wouldn't even have computers right now.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2011
Who do you think would risk millions of dollars on an idea that may or may not end up working or being popular if they do not stand to make considerably MORE than what they invested in profit?

Would you take a million dollars and RISK it if there was a limit to the amount you could profit from that idea if it even worked and if it turned out to be popular?

Here are the 2 scenarios:

- Risk 1 million dollars with the potential to make billions if your idea is successful, or lose it all if it fails

- Risk 1 million dollars with the potential to to make it back plus a small amount for yourself, lets say 100,000 (as dictated by your stupid anti-capitalist horseshit) or lose it all if your idea fails.

Which would you be more likely to consider? If no one could potentially profit from their ideas we wouldn't have anything in the first place for you to bitching about.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2011

I believe I have spoken for everyone here.
Shushybye, and good night, America.

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