For most people, the Internet enters their home, office, school, etc. through electrical cables, but the backbone of the Internet actually utilizes fiber optics. Instead of electrical signals, fiber optic cables are able to transmit information via optical signals, which can travel significantly faster, but the demand for connectivity is eventually going to be greater than that speed. Researchers at the University of Bristol and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan however have made the first demonstration of a multicore fiber network, which has the potentially to outperform modern networks.
The typical fiber optic cable contains a single core for light to travel through, while a multicore cable is able to carry multiple optical signals at the same time. Though this hardware can definitely improve performance, the researchers also used Software Defined Network (SDN) control. This system allows the network to be flexible and respond to different situations, and thus maintain optimal performance.
To reduce the need for error correction of the signals, the researchers also applied self-homodyne detection, which sends a pilot-tone signal along another optical core. By combining the data and pilot signal, the receiver is able to remove a great deal of noise, reducing the need for signal processing.
Source: University of Bristol