Eye-opening optical research projects that could supercharge the Internet

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Nikola Alic, a photonics research scientist at the University of California’s Qualcomm Institute in San Diego, argues that optical research offers the best hope for helping the Internet accommodate the ever growing flow of multimedia services.

"All of today's information traffic in the backbone is transmitted over fiber-optic networks," he says. "A single optical fiber made of glass — more precisely, silica — offers more than 25 THz of bandwidth."

Alic leads one of several research teams worldwide that are independently investigating optical technologies that promise to make networks — and the Internet  —  faster and more efficient. "Extending reach and/or capacity of the fiber optic network is essential to accommodate growth," he says.

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