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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N032853/1
Title: High Dimensional Free-space Building-to-Building Link for Last-Mile Communications
Principal Investigator: Lavery, Professor MPJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Corning Incorporated (International) Intel Corporation Ltd Max Planck Institutes
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 December 2016 Ends: 30 November 2018 Value (£): 90,804
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optical Communications
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Mar 2016 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel - Mar 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
I propose a new approach to supplying technologies for the last-mile global communication networks.

High-speed data links are central to an ever-more integrated digital economy where, every day, more and more data is shared on our already over-stretched communications networks. A key challenge is the development of new high-bandwidth, secure communication networks, particularly through the internet. The online multimedia services we use on a daily basis are huge users of network bandwidth. With the number of multimedia users in the UK increasing on a monthly basis, the result is a huge drain on the available network bandwidth. Even in standard definition, watching our favourite TV show uses around 1GB of data per hour (and 3GB per hour for high definition). Beyond multimedia, as cloud-based storage and computing becoming the norm establishing high-bandwidth communication networks will be vital. Core backbone communication networks are regularly upgraded to deal with these demands, however the last-mile network, which takes our Internet services to homes and offices, is difficult and expensive to upgrade. This difficulty arises from the distributed nature of this portion of the network and solutions for cost effective, and sustainable, upgrades are required to be commercially deployed over the next 5-10 years.

This project the aims to develop solutions to implementation of high-speed free-space last-mile networks. Using light beams carrying Orbital Angular Momentum, a single point-to-point link will increase the number of data carrying channels. Using orbital angular momentum in this way is an example of spatial multiplexing. These multiplexing techniques have the potential to offer multiplicative increases in data rates whilst simultaneously increasing the security of the link. A key deliverable will be the development of a last-mile building to building link within our new campus, for the development and testing of prototype novel multiplexing and de-multiplexing technology. Working with Industrial partners Intel and Corning, solutions will be developed in line with their market requirement, allowing near-term commercial uptake.

These industry inspired challenges raise some questions about the fundamental nature of long distance propagation of spatial modes. Hence, along with overcoming the technical hurdles this project aims to investigate the effect of turbulence within the free-space propagation of spatially multiplexed beams. In the early stages of this project, studies into the optical aberrations, and modal cross coupling will be carried out in different environmental settings. This vital data will provide a base to design and develop passive, and active approaches to overcoming the limitations imposed by atmospheric turbulence. Further to these challenges, techniques to allow integration into current installed fibre networks will be developed. The proof-of-principle link will allow real life user testing, where standard internet services will be demonstrated over the link, aiming to providing a commercially viable last-mile link design as a key deliverable of the project.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk