Project Saradana

The ground-breaking fibre-optic technology, under a new project Saradana is all set to bring lightning-quick internet speeds, more robust connections and a big increase in network capacity at little extra cost. The Project Saradana (Scalable Advanced Ring-based passive Dense Access Network Architecture) involves a consortium of European universities and research institutes. It has demonstrated speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), around 2,000 times quicker than the fastest Internet speed today. Here is a brief background:

Project SARDANA targets the performance enhancement of dense Fibre-to-the-Home networks (FTTH), also called PONs (Passive Optical Networks). They constitute the fundamental segment with the required potential to match the huge capacity of transport networks with the new user communication demands, where deeper research is still to be performed. The key performances that this project aims at radically improve are the scalability and the robustness, since they constitute pillars of such a cost-sensitive segment. The researchers have shown that very high speeds can be achieved at relatively little extra cost using existing fibre infrastructure. Though still in the experimental stages, the fully optical technology would mark a giant leap forward in fibre network performance.

SARDANA objective is to build a Network of the Future in the access domain to bring the true broadband communications to the highest number of users, unlimitedly at no extra cost, in and beyond the so called next-generation Fiber-to-the-Home networks.

SARDANA, following the acronym, features:

  • Scalable: Sardana is able to serve more than 1000 users with symmetrical 300 Mbit/s per user, spread along distances up to 100 km, at 10Gbit/s, in a flexible way.
  • Advanced: to reach the project goals, a series of innovations are proposed and implemented:
  • Adoption and adaptation of new opto-electronic technologies, like reflective semiconductor optical amplifier, remotely pumped fiber amplification, wavelength shifting, etc.
  • Signal processing and communication techniques, like orthogonal optical modulation formats to reuse the same wavelength in down- and up-stream, non-linear electronic equalization of the different optical impairments present, and hybrid domain signal multiplexing (wavelength and time domain, routing the optical packets without collisions or delays).

Ring-based passive: the network topology is hybrid with a central WDM ring, to offer instant communication protection in case of fiber cut, plus TDM single-fiber trees to the homes. In between, the Remote Nodes perform wavelength add&drop routing and optical amplification, although being fully passive. Strict passiveness is preserved in the external fiber plant.

Dense Access Network Architecture: related to the concept of the user density in an area; it can range from a rural scenario at one hundred Km to an urban scenario with several thousand homes. (This is a potential 5 marker in your Mains exam this year.

According to some estimates, yearly global internet traffic will need to be measured in Zettabytes (one trillion Gigabytes) within the next three years, a four-fold increase from today and the data equivalent of all the movies ever made passing through operators’ networks every five minutes, according to a university statement. Streaming video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix will account for most of the traffic, alongside more widespread use of similarly bandwidth-demanding video conferencing and telepresence applications.

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