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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: NS/A000021/1
Title: National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service
Principal Investigator: Seeds, Professor AJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Mid-range Facility
Starts: 01 November 2013 Ends: 31 October 2018 Value (£): 2,500,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Networks & Distributed Systems Optical Communications
Optical Devices & Subsystems Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service (NDFIS) is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Facility, established in 2014, to enable researchers to develop the underpinning communications technologies for the future internet. FA 5 year contract for NDFIS has been awarded to UCL as prime contractor for a consortium comprising the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Southampton. NDFIS provides access to a dedicated dark fibre network connecting these universities, with onward connection to European and Worldwide research networks via telecommunications facilities in London. The network is engineered with equipment that can be configured remotely and, as part of the contract, techniques and software are being developed to enable its operation as a pioneering example of a Software Defined Network (SDN). The fibre paths linking the Universities, comprising some 640 km of single mode fibre together with control and monitoring links, are provided to NDFIS by Janet, part of the JISC group, funded by BIS through its e-Infrastructure programme.

Researchers in the UK are able to access the new network, named Aurora2, both directly by placing equipment at consortium sites and remotely using the Janet Lightpath service.

Dark fibre is optical fibre that users can access at the optical data level, rather than the electrical data level as in conventional communications networks. Access at the optical level enables users to experiment with novel communication techniques, such as high order optical modulation or quantum communication. NDFIS offers programmable transmission parameters, dynamic reconfiguration into multiple sub-­-networks and the ability to handle multiple transmission formats simultaneously.

As well as supporting research on the future core optical network, which underpins the internet, NDFIS also enables research with experimental metro networks, such as the Gigabit Bristol network. NDFIS can also support research on wireless backhaul networks for future Wireless Systems such as 5G.

NDFIS provides a key resource to researchers developing the future wireless and optical communications systems that will underpin the future internet. For further information see: http://www.ndfis.org/

Key Findings
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