• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

Will the Space-Division Multiplexing be the solution for the capacity crunch?

By Vivian (Xi) Chen

The exponential growth of internet traffic at about 2 dB per annum could exhaust the available capacity of single-mode fiber in the near future. But space-division multiplexing (SDM) has been proposed to keep up with capacity improvement. One of the categories of SDM, multi-core fibre (MCF), has multiple individual fibre cores via which signals propagate independently in different fibre cores. The other category of SDM, few-mode fibre (FMF), has one single core in which a few fibre modes are propagating together.

It is not yet clear whether MCF or FMF (or both, or neither) would be the next generation transmission fibre. The question is still an open one for the fibre-optic community to answer. While MCF has the advantage of minimized inter-core interference, the price is paid on high hardware complexity (the number of amplifiers, add/drop multiplexors, etc.) when scaling up to more cores. FMF fibre based systems, though requiring higher dimension channel equalization compared to conventional SMF fibre ones, have the potential of better energy efficiency.

There are a number of questions to be answered on the feasibility, or the ultimate capacity of SDM. For instance, the fibre nonlinearity in FMF transmission is important. The nonlinear noise is always important no matter in conventional single mode fibre (SMF) systems or the new FMF ones, because the nonlinearity limits the maximum power we can send via the link and thus defines the best signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) we can expect for a system. And amplifiers are the other concern for SDM. Will we be able to develop good SDM amplifiers that can efficiently amplifier SDM signals? Are they competitive enough compare with conventional SMF amplifiers, in terms of cost and power efficiency?

The extensive research on the topic of SDM is evidenced by the large amount of talks/presentations shown on the agenda. In particular, two workshops will be arranged on this topic. Information related to the workshops is listed as the following:

See you at the workshops! Note: The OFC agenda now can be downloaded from OFC website.

Posted: 4 March 2014 by Vivian (Xi) Chen | with 0 comments

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC)  or its sponsors.