|[27 OCT 98]
MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS PRESS RELEASE
Coventry Technology Rings Up World First
team of engineers and scientists, working at laboratories at Marconi Communications in New
Century Park, Coventry, earlier today unveiled a technological breakthrough which is the
key to preventing a total breakdown of the worlds telephone networks on less than
five years time.
The explosion in demand, fuelled largely by the Internet computer-based network, has
seen communications traffic levels rocket and telephone networks are struggling to cope.
Development teams around the world have responded by developing high-capacity optical
systems but until now it has proved impossible to provide anything other than city-to-city
systems, where the huge amounts of traffic telephone and Internet calls then
have to be converted back into electronic signals.
The key to the future is to be able to optically route the calls during their journey;
a technique called "clever glass" and engineers at Marconi Communications have
become the first in the world to develop the capability to achieve it.
The new product is known in the industry as a reconfigurable optical multiplexer and
was launched at 3.00am UK time in Beijing in China, home to the worlds largest and
most technology-hungry market place.
"History will rank this development as another great British first," said
Marconi Communications Coventry-based Optical Networks Managing Director Dave Lewis.
"The big difference however is that unlike many important firsts this is one that we
intend to exploit to the maximum and use it to build on our position as one of the
worlds major telecommunications manufacturers."
The revolutionary multiplexer is part of a whole product range of optical systems that
Marconi Communications launched in China earlier today at a major exhibition called
ExpoComm. Titled SmartPhotonix, the range offers network operators all the optical systems
they will need for the demands of the next Century. The SmartPhotonix range will be made
at Coventry and also in Genoa in Italy, where other engineers also collaborated in the
Marconi Communications is a world leader in smart Broadband transmission and systems
integration. It was formed by the merger of GPT Limited, Marconi SpA and selected
businesses owned by GEC, a global manufacturer of intelligent electronic systems.
Defusing the carrier network bomb
Telecommunications networks and the
telecommincations operators that own and run them have never been under so much
pressure as their equipment faces an unprecedented change of demand.
For instance, the numbers of people connecting to the
Internet is rising exponentially, with around 40 million users in almost 100 countries
currently having access to the Internet 24 hours a day. When a subscriber makes a phone
call, the average length of time they are connected over the network is only a few
minutes. In contrast, the average connection by a user to the Internet is half an hour
rising. This places a tremendous and growing burden on the
telecommunications operators resources at the telephone exchange as individual lines
are engaged for longer periods, and on the fibre-optic cable in the operators core
Photonics on which Marconi Communications
world-beating SmartPhotonix range is based is a godsend to hard-pressed operators
whose fibre is rapidly filling up with calls and information. It effectively splits the
single laser-generated lightware carried by an individual optical fibre into a number of
wavelengths. Each individual wavelength is able to carry the same amount of information as
the whole original single fibre.
Instead of carrying, say, 30,000 phone calls, the same
fibre can now transport 250,000 calls or their equivalent in data. Not only is the
capacity of an operators backbone network increased but it avoids the spiralling
cost of laying new fibre cable.
Marconi Communications is the only manufacturer to have
developed optical systems that are capable of adding and dropping voice and data calls at
will. This breakthrough the move from electrical to optical components by
Marconi engineers, is the technical accomplishment the telecommunications world has been
waiting for. It is key enable telephone networks worldwide to meet the massive
communications needs expected in the next century.
MORE INFORMATION: Marconi Communications Press Office 0115