The aims of the project pertain to the development of new long-reach (up to 80 km) radio-over-fiber (RoF) technology and its potential convergence with long-reach passive optical network (PON).
This is driven by the individual benefits of RoF and PON, and the advantages to be had from consolidation of networks in that RoF and PON can share the same components whilst extending the coverage of
RoF. The rationale of RoF technology is to move network complexity away from base stations and into central offices, distributing a variety of wireless signals over fiber, a medium that potentially offers low loss transmission compared to conventional RF approaches. The advantage of PON is that it offers a high capacity transparent approach to wired services to a large number of users. The long reach model is now attracting interest because of its potential to significantly reduce the number of nodes and network cost, thus supporting more users per PON. Research into the integration of radio-over-fiber into long reach networks is still in its nascent form, and so the project is timely.
Specifically, we will tackle three lines of research and development. Firstly, we will implement a new
transceiver architecture that will, for the first time, support simultaneous bidirectional transmission
on a single fiber of both digital and RF (up to 30 GHz signals). This hybrid approach lends itself to
low cost implementation of RoF by having a common architecture for the remote antenna units,
which owing to their large number must be manufactured in volume. Secondly, the transceiver units
will be integrated into a WDM-PON ring test bed at UCY for laboratory evaluation, including tests
based on the transmission/reception of uncompressed HDTV signals. The third phase will involve a
field trial, in which up to 80 km of the Cablenet fiber network in Cyprus will be connected to the test
bed at UCY, with a window being allocated for the real-time test of the hybrid RoF digital/RF
transceivers. This will provide a realistic evaluation of the long-reach potential of our approach.
It is anticipated that the results of the lab and field trials will lead to publication in the leading meetings
such as OFC and ECOC, thus raising the profile of both long-range RoF/PON and the participants.
(This will particularly help to raise the profile of the Cypriot partners in the photonics community,
increasing the potential for future collaborative projects.) Beyond the scientific benefits, there are
potential economic benefits to be had from both the development of the transceiver architecture and
also its early adoption (by Cypriot partners) in realistic operating scenarios, thus providing a
competitive edge in the early phases of research and development in the nascent and emerging field
of combined long-reach PON/RoF. Deployments of this technology will likely benefit network
operators in terms of reduced CAPEX costs and lead to wider penetration of combined
wired/wireless networks for end users.
- Development of hybrid digital/RF bidirectional radio-over-fiber
transceivers for long-reach integrated WDM-PON/radio-over-fiber networks, where distances of up
to 80 km will be supported by Raman amplification.
- Provide a low-cost platform for both fixed and mobile users
- Clear synergy between the three partners – academic (UCY), component manufacturer
(Finisar) and network operator (Cablenet), and they have a common interest in the development of
Specific Scientific and Technological Objectives of the Project
- The specific objective of the project is the development of long-reach radio-over-fibre (supported by
Raman amplification for up to 80 km spans) with the potential for future integration with long-reach
PON to offer a combined low-cost platform for fixed and mobile users offering a plethora of both RF
analog (up to 30 GHz) and digital (e.g. RS-232, RS-422, ECL) services
- Take advantage of the high capacity and transparency of passive optical networks with the flexibility and
potential cost-savings of the wireless approach.
- The project results will contribute to the development of a new product line, namely hybrid RF/digital bidirectional
transceivers that support combined digital and RF transmission over fiber with a seamless interface
to the wireless end-users.