Researchers are within a factor of 2 or so from realizing the maximum practical transmission capacity of conventional single-mode fibre transmission technology. It is therefore timely to consider new technological approaches offering the potential for more cost-effective scaling of network capacity than simply installing more and more conventional single-mode systems in parallel. In this paper, I review physical layer options that can be considered to address this requirement including the potential for reduction in both fibre loss and nonlinearity for single-mode fibres, the development of ultra-broadband fibre amplifiers and finally the use of space division multiplexing.
Keywords: optical amplifiers; optical communications; optical fibres.
© 2016 The Authors.