The European Union-funded Photonic Integrated Extended Metro and Access Network (PIEMAN) research project aims to provide fast Internet access across Europe. The project is led by researchers from Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Belgium, as well as corporations including British Telecom (BT) and Alcatel-Lucent.
PIEMAN's goal is to create a faster, more streamlined network, says Paul Townsend, a professor at Ireland's Tyndall National Institute. "In particular, by increasing the network span from around 20 kilometers that is typical today to as much as 100 kilometers, the new scheme eliminates the need for many of the electronic switches and repeaters used in current networks," Townsend says. He adds that the faster network will be easier, less complicated, and cheaper to maintain.
BT CEO Chris Clark predicts that the improved network will lead to 10 times the number of users and bandwidth that are available today. He says that PIEMAN's network "employs multiple colors of light to allow sharing of optic fiber and components across many sub-networks so that in total more than 16,000 customers can be supported from a single network hub."
From Science Foundation Ireland
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