The University of Southampton

ORC to join forces with Europe and Japan to build future high-speed data networks

Published: 8 December 2014

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton is to join forces with the European Commission and the Japanese government to develop new technologies for high-speed networks in densely populated user areas.

The number of smart wireless devices, such as smart phones and tablets, connecting to networks shows no sign of abating. The number of mobile broadband users is expected to exceed 3.9 billion by 2017.

Applications are consuming ever-increasing amounts of bandwidth causing Internet connections to drop in many high user density areas of cities, such as shopping centres, public transport, conference venues and concert halls.

To help deliver the network capacity required to meet this demand, researchers from the ORC are to share in around €1.5 million of EU funding, for the SAFARI (Scalable And Flexible optical Architecture for Reconfigurable Infrastructure) project, the first to be won by the University of Southampton under the recently launched Horizon 2020 programme.

SAFARI brings together researchers from the ORC, Coriant GmbH and the Technical University of Denmark within Europe and both Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and Fujikura Ltd in Japan. The project will look to build future high-speed networks capable of delivering data connections of at least 400Gbps/channel. It will combine state-of-the-art multi-core optical fibres with Space-Division Multiplexing (SDM) networks to produce highly scalable and flexible optical transport networks.

Professor David Richardson, Deputy Director of the ORC, said: “We are delighted to be engaged in the exciting and ambitious project which brings together leading European and Japanese research groups to address some of the key emerging challenges and opportunities facing our increasingly information-centric global society.”

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, said: “The cloud, big data, the Internet of Things, and fast networking are four key ingredients of a new Internet paradigm. Our investments in digital technologies today will repay far into the future. We should work together as Europe to create a connected digital single market, and with other parts of the world too, on a common approach and for a common scope.”

SAFARI is one of four research projects that are to receive joint investments amounting to €12 million from the EU and Japan, involving more than 40 academic and industry partners.

Learn more about SAFARI and the other three projects.

Investigate ORC research into multi-core fibre technology.

Find out about Horizon 2020.

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