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A Bangor University innovation promises to make wireless and traditional data networks work more flexibly together


A team of electronic engineering experts at Bangor University has proposed a new algorithm to make Internet signals instantaneous for applications in real-time services, bridging the gap between current data networks and 5G networks.

“We have developed an algorithm, or set of ways, of processing signals. Introducing these into existing communications hubs will enable the signals to be ‘bundled’ for sending and ‘un-bundled’ for processing within the optical field, something not currently possible. At the moment, sending signals optically is far more efficient, but converting these optical signals has to be done electronically for signal processing. Switching between the electronic and optical fields, which may need to be done a number of times during signal transmission, is both cumbersome and time-consuming. This simplification should provide massive efficiencies in terms of speed and cost, whether internet or mobile signal traffic on any of our existing networks,” said Jianming Tang, Professor of Electronic Engineering, who is behind the new work.

Shortening the signalling delay to less than one millisecond is one of the most significant technical challenges facing the ICT R&D community. The communications systems themselves also need to become more dynamic and responsive to traffic. Their solution can be introduced into existing components and no expensive equipment or networks are needed.

The team will test its theory in a Welsh-government-funded SMARTExpertise project, lasting thirty months and supported with over £1m from the European Union via the European Regional Development Fund.

“This new technology is expected to play a promising role in enabling the imminent arrival of 5G,” said Prof Tang. “For the next digital revolution to take place, we need wireless and traditional data networks to work more flexibly together. This will save money and provide users with far more dynamic and flexible communications connections which can respond to the weight of traffic- enabling the networks to deliver high-quality connections as and when needed.”

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