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High speed plastic networks (HSPN): a new technology for today's applications

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1 Author(s)
J. Cirillo ; Packard Hughes Interconnect, Warren, OH, USA

Decades ago, glass fiber promised to be the future of communications offering large bandwidth, low attenuation, and electromagnetic compatibility. For the long haul applications, this promise has been fulfilled. Today, glass fibers have yielded simple, reliable, and economic means of communicating worldwide. However, when it comes to shorter distances and rugged environments, glass fiber optics has not been the answer. Unforeseen rapid developments in software and display technology have enabled communications in the form of multimedia, E-mail, web pages, and video conferencing. These developments are pushing data rates higher and higher in application environments that are more severe, uncontrolled and require shorter connected intensive links. To achieve desired data rates and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) using copper systems, shielded cable and connectors or parallel links are necessary, driving up cost and complexity. Glass fiber optic systems provide more than adequate bandwidth and superior EMC but cannot offer a cost effective, robust, user-friendly system. Recent developments have poised plastic optical fiber (POF) to fill the physical layer gap. This paper will discuss the recent developments in plastic fiber including appropriate application space, types of plastic optical fiber, ARPA-funded HSPN team, and recent POF developments

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 10 )