Indiana U and Fujitsu Collaborate on Optical Communications Research

Indiana University (IU) and networking company Fujitsu Network Communications are collaborating on research about the effects that Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) can have on specific wavelengths traveling at 40 gigabits per second or more. This collaboration experience, which was facilitated by their active involvement with Internet2, will be the model for future research networking experiments between Fujitsu and other research and education institutions, the company said in a statement.

PMD occurs when light inside a fiber travel at slightly different speeds, which--unless it is compensated for--makes it impossible to transmit data reliably at high speeds. The problem becomes increasingly challenging as vendors attempt to develop ever-faster optical networks.

"Indiana University is constantly looking for ways to enrich the experiences of our research members with real-world experiments using cutting-edge technology," said Brad Wheeler, vice president for IT and CIO at Indiana University. "Our collaboration with Fujitsu has allowed us to interact with the scientists from one of the leading research entities in optical networking. Together, using advanced technology from Fujitsu, we were able to discover several optical characteristics that will have a profound implication on high speed networking across the globe. Our experience continues to be extremely positive, and we look forward to future research projects with Fujitsu."

IU's Global Research Network Operations Center is providing dark fiber between Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana, plus access to patch panels, electrical power, the Internet and physical space to conduct the tests. Fujitsu and IU collaborated on the test plan to ensure that collected data can be used to influence future optical networking research and commercial products. Fujitsu researchers have conducted tests over a seven month period (with at least five more months of experiments planned), and IU is supporting the configuration changes during the testing phase. Fujitsu and IU are examining the test results, and have co-authored several technical papers about their findings.

"The researchers we are working with at Indiana University are providing exceptional support for this experiment, and are demonstrating why the school is considered one of the best research institutions for higher learning in America," said Takao Naito, director of Fujitsu Laboratories of America. "This experiment and the data we are obtaining as a result are proof that research collaboration between corporate and university entities can result in optical networking breakthroughs and an invaluable experience for university and corporate researchers."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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