Fibre lights me!

By John Nixon 14/06/2011


Picture 3Having been involved in lighting fibre for some years now, it was interesting to find myself on the receiving end.

After cancer surgery, I am in the middle of 25 sessions of radiotherapy. Another massive and impressive machine that carefully focuses a strong photon beam on to the affected area from several directions, hopefully destroying the remaining cancer cells.

At each session it is vitally important that your body is exactly in the same position. The very first session sees you receive three small tattoos, one on the chest, and one on each side of the chest. Then at each ensuing session, these small tattoo marks are aligned with the green fibre emitted cross-hairs you can see in the picture. Then the radiation therapy can begin.

Fibre lightI am always curious about new technologies, so I quizzed the medical staff and asked to see the remote control station where all the machine adjustments and images are processed. If you are interested in the physics behind the linear accelerator, there is an excellent and understandable article at:

The Physics of Radiation Therapy

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New fibre transmission speed record

We still have only a very vague idea of the maximum data transmission speed over fibre. Right now we are playing with speeds of 1 to 10 Gbps in normal FTTH systems. In Germany a few days ago (in collaboration with a British University) the data speed record was broken again.

Bear in mind that this is for a single wavelength over a single fibre and over a distance of 50 Km.

The new record is 26 Tbps (tera bits per second). Just amazing! This just reinforces the fact that once a fibre network is in place, there is no known limit to the bandwidth or data transmission speed that can be sent over it. Add multiple wavelengths, and you have a mind-boggling potential bandwidth!

Once the fibre network is in place, one only needs to swap out the electronics at each end to increase the data transmission rate. This could go on for the foreseeable future!