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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Siemens, Infineon unveil data converter

By Remmy Nweke

TWO German Information and Communication Technology (ICT) firms, Siemens Corporate Technology and Infineon Technologies have developed a new receiver data chip converter.

The product enables conversion of Internet data from fiber optic cables into electrical signals at what the firms described as “break-taking speed”.

Presently, highly complex and expensive modules are needed for receiving such signals and according to a joint press statement endorsed by Guido Weber of Siemens Corporate Technology, in the near future, components such as the Infineon chip, will be used for the first time, will play an essential role in increasing the performance of communications networks at reasonable cost.

Noting that the Internet is becoming increasingly popular with the global user community growing at an annual rate of twenty percent, whereas over a billion of the global populations were reported to have become addicted to the World Wide Web (www) in 2005.

However, the two firms said that in order to prevent the dense data traffic from bringing telecommunications networks to the point of collapse in the future, operators will have to make their data routes more efficient, while minimizing the cost of doing so.

Project coordinator at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich, Dr. Rainer H. Derksen, was quoted as saying that achieving this will require new cost-effective, high-tech modules and one such module, now existing as a prototype is the result of the cooperative project “Demonstrator for 80-Gbit/s direct receivers with electrical time division demultiplex” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research and carried out by Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) and the Siemens Communications Group (Com) in Munich together with Infineon Technologies.

The coordinator also said that this is a data receiver that processes a data volume of 107 gigabits per second on a tiny electronic chip, which he maintained is a record-breaking performance, “because up until now considerably more complex and far more expensive modules Press Presse Prensa have been necessary. 107 gigabits is approximated to the volume of the data held on two Digital Video Displays (DVDs).”

Explaining further, the Siemens official said that data usually travels along the high speed routes of the Internet in the form of a light signal, but before the data could be converted back into electrical signals at the destination point it must first be split optically into several signals with a lower data rate, each of which then has to be converted individually into electrical signals with photodiodes.

This is necessary to enable the downstream electronic systems to process the data, while photodiodes are used for the detection of optical communication signals and for the conversion of optical power to electrical power.

According to the expert, optical equipment needed for the splitting process is expensive even as more opt electronic converters are also needed, which drives up the costs enormously.

The aim of the researchers was therefore to develop a chip that receives and processes the signal from the photodiode directly. The advantage is that a chip of this type could be mass-produced relatively cheaply, and complex modules made up of several components would no longer be necessary.

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