EVENT FOCUS TOP CONFERENCE
networks through the combination of long- range fibre and satellite links, as well as the integration of quantum and conventional signals. Such progress, he said, will pave the way for a global quantum internet, which allows not only secure communications, but also networked quantum information processing. The impact of quantum technologies on cyber security was the topic for Jake Kennard , of KETS Quantum Security, who discussed the impact of quantum computing on internet security and what steps are being taken around the world to address this threat. He was followed by two short sessions in which Lakshmi Rajagopal , Early Stage Researcher at BT Applied Research spoke about the application of optical atomic clocks in a timing network, and the University of Oxford’s Andy Schreier looked at how security in mobile devices can be improved with the use of hand-held QKD systems using short-range optical links. WORKSHOPS The workshop discussion which followed looked at funding issues surrounding UKRI Hubs & Programme Grants, recent progress in optical communications, photonic technologies, quantum communications and quantum computing. Speakers included Prof Dominic O’Brien , University of Oxford, Prof David Richardson , University of Southampton and Sam Johnson UK Research & Innovation. The workshop at the end of day one was particularly passionate, when panel members including Carlos Lee , director general, EPIC, John Lincoln , Photonics Leadership Group, Iain Mauchline , Innovate UK and Prof Will Stewart , independent photonics consultant, focussed the discussion on the future of the photonics industry. Speakers repeatedly asked why, when photonics underpinned the telecoms industry – fixed and mobile, the internet and a host of other vital industries which the world has come to take for granted, was it unrecognised and underfunded. Lee pointed to the fact that EPIC was formed precisely to address such issues and would strive to redress the balance at every opportunity. The session closed with all participants agreeing that events such as the TOP Conference were much needed and expressed the hope that it would be repeated next year. Content from the conference is available to purchase and watch on-demand. Visit topconference.com for more details.
PHOTONICS IS KEY Taking DWDM to the access network was the topic of EFFECT Photonics’ CEO James Regan , who explained how this could be achieved using the company’s self-tuning modules. He said, “EFFECT’s philosophy is to take a powerful technology which started in the core of the network, and make it into something which is suitable to use in access networks. It’s got to be simple, simple to deploy, rather than requiring PhD level people to turn it up. What we developed is a pair of modules that can talk to each other directly, which means you can put a remote one in a very inaccessible place, and have a local one which is a complete digital twin.” Later in the day, Joost Verberk , director of Product Management, EFFECT Photonics, explained that a paradigm shift is needed to scalable and flexible future-proof networks, with innovations like NFV and SDN playing a key role. However, he said, to take full advantage we need to push these advances further into the physical, optical layer, with Photonic Integration and Programmable Optical System-on- Chip technologies are key enablers of a truly future-proof network. High Power single mode expanded beam fibre optic connectors was Passcom Guy Nurse’s , presentation which looked at the increasing need for applications requiring the transmission of high optical power in single-mode optical fibre, such as for the power supply of remote devices known as Power Over Fibre (PoF). He explained that the DIAMOND Power Solution connector series is designed for the requirements of high-power fibre optic transmission on small core fibres whilst ensuring high reliability. Ryu Takahashi , product specialist, Data Centre, at Senko explored the topic of high density interconnects, given the market trend for higher bandwidth connectivity requirement in data centres and the introduction of conventional and upcoming new interconnect solution in
the market in which are deployed or will be deployed in near future.
WIDE OPEN SPACES Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) is a relatively new branch of the industry and was well represented at the conference. Francesco Poletti , and Prof. Radan Slavík from the Optoelectronics Research Centre at University of Southampton in the UK, spoke about hollow core optical fibres – a British invention with revolutionary potential. They highlighted the latest results and some of the applications that might be empowered by further progress in this area, and made the case for the creation of a UK ecosystem to benefit from this nascent technology. Gerald Bonner , Senior Researcher, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics looked at the challenges of FSOC, including the alignment and pointing stability of FSO systems presents substantial challenges, environmental factors such as atmospheric turbulence and background light. Meanwhile, Prof. Martin P J Lavery , leader of the Structured Photonics Research Group at the University of Glasgow, looked at the environmental sensing with structured light and its potential applications in FSOC systems. GOING QUANTUM Quantum communications is one of the fastest-growing areas of the telecoms industry at present and the final sessions of the conference was given over to it. Speakers included University of Bristol’s Ekin Arabul , who explained that the safety measures of 5G can be addressed by employing a QKD-enabled encryptor for unconditional security, whilst the Network Coding-based resilience provided minimum downtime, adding programmable security and resilience. Andrew Shields , Head of Quantum Technology, Toshiba Europe Ltd reviewed the prospect of realising global quantum
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the fiber meeting
ISSUE 28 | Q1 2022
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