Chaos theory could delay network overload if work by US scientists yields a saleable product that would enable the doubling of transmission via fibre optic cables.
Currently the only way high capacity telecomms networks can be kept running is by ensuring all the different capacity cables are synchronised. Only then do companies like BT have the predictability they need to feed low bandwidth links onto backbone networks.
But scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology are applying chaos mathematics to squeeze more data down phone lines.
Rajarshi Roy, director of the School of Physics, claims to have doubled data throughput by using lasers to generate chaotic waveforms, adding a low amplitude message and then transmitting this down a fibre optic cable.
"Control and synchronisation of chaotic devices is important, since it may be possible to use chaotic lasers for encoding and decoding information carrying signals," he said.
Geraint Davies, head of data IP at Cable & Wireless Communications, was sceptical: "The future is [packet-based] IP for both voice and data. This reversion to chaos theory to improve dataflow sounds like the death throes of traditional voice networking protocols."
For more stories see 24 February issue of Network News
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