Researchers at Bangor University’s Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Centre have found a cost-effective way to improve the performance of networks which supply mobile services and broadband to homes and businesses.

As well as improved performance, the new technique is also kinder on the planet. Because of the technique’s lack of complexity, less energy is needed to transmit a given amount of data, so there is less of an environmental cost.

In the process, they have set a new world record for using DSP to transform complicated, non-linear, low-speed optical transmission systems into simple, linear, high-speed ones.

Results from the latest research carried out at the DSP Centre in Bangor, north Wales, demonstrate that a 10-fold increase in bandwidth of commercially installed access networks is technically feasible over an extended distance of 100 kilometres by manipulating the way the data is processed in the receiver using a technique based on digital signal processing.

Professor Jianming Tang, director of the DSP Centre, explains: “Using advanced digital signal processing, we are manipulating the way in which signals are processed in the receiver to compensate for the effects that usually limit bandwidth and transmission distance.

This approach could be used to upgrade existing networks without requiring considerable changes to be made to these networks.

“The approach also allows cheap and low-power consumption solutions to be deployed in new networks, capable of satisfying unprecedented technical requirements associated with 5G and beyond.

“We are now looking at how this approach could be further integrated with the DSP Centre’s other cutting-edge techniques to provide additional network security by detecting unauthorised changes to the network, and unauthorised access to the data, which is of paramount importance these days.”

The DSP Centre at Bangor University has secured £3,9-million in project funding from European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. In addition to this funding, the centre has also recently secured £3-million from the North Wales Growth Deal as one of the projects within the Digital Programme.

Working with Ambition North Wales, the investment will be used to invest in cutting-edge equipment, expand its research facility and create up to 40 new jobs.