Evolving online applications such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and high-definition videos require enormous bandwidth, putting network infrastructure under increasing pressure. Telecom companies, enterprises, institutions and governments need to invest in the next generation of network infrastructure to plan for the future.
HKSTP partner company Trinity Photonics Manufacturing Company Limited has developed the Bus Passive Optical Network (BusPON) technology, a solution that offers infinite broadband bandwidth that is fast, stable and secure, and able to withstand system failure, laying the foundation for the next generation of global networks.
Trinity Photonics’s co-founder Dr. Simon Chan, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, dedicated his studies and efforts towards the research and development of optical fibre technology, inspired by the “Father of Fibre Optics” Sir Charles K. Kao, former professor and president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Together with Dr Dick Chung, a graduate of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Dr. Chan transformed his university research project into practical and usable technology. BusPON was thus created to provide value to society.
High performance and flexible expansion
Dr. Chan has more than two decades of research experience in fibre optics communications. He says that BusPON technology is suitable for network architectures of different scales such as metropolitan area networks, enterprise networks and campus networks. It offers multiple advantages, including:
- Ultra-high-speed, long-distance, high-bandwidth transmission: Optical transmission has a low latency feature, which is particularly useful for audio and video applications. The technology has a communication distance of 50 kilometres, and can theoretically expand bandwidth indefinitely by continuously adding new wavelengths.
- The ability to flexibly expand and withstand failure: The network uses a circular design, and system administrators can add nodes onto the network as needed to meet the needs of users in densely populated environments such as housing estates, commercial buildings and schools. At the same time, the network can quickly switch to a new node without affecting network performance.
- High network security: The network is equipped with data encryption. Attacks on an individual node will not affect other nodes.
- Installation and management is simple: BusPON can modify the pre-existing network architecture, and the construction staff and management can start working efficiently after minimal training.
Hong Kong schools have implemented BusPON
Trinity Photonics has already obtained a patent for BusPON in Hong Kong, and has submitted an application for one in mainland China. In recent years, there has been a surge in demand from schools to improve network infrastructure, due to an increasing desire to promote interactive teaching using audio-visual media. Internet performance must be greatly enhanced to allow a large number of students and teachers to access high-resolution content. Dr. Chan said that more than 50 primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong have installed BusPON networks to provide broadband network connections to each classroom, at transfer speeds of multiple Gbps.
Using BusPON, a school has built a 1.4Tbps uplink and downlink network that allows approximately 2,000 teachers and students in the middle and elementary schools to surf the internet for teaching and learning. Dr. Chan says that BusPON has received positive feedback from the education sector and relevant Government departments, and it is believed that BusPON can be further promoted to other industries.
Science Park’s test underscores possibility of smart city infrastructure
BusPON is ideal for building smart cities. Dr. Chan says smart cities have countless connection applications and services that continuously exchange data, causing a huge demand for superior network performance. Trinity Photonics, through collaboration with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, conducted an experiment, linking the Park with the University with a 6-kilometer optical fibre. The test found that BusPON had an ideal connection speed and was also able to repair itself. When the network broke down in a simulation, the network automatically switched to another route to recover the data transmission. The process only took five seconds, and no data was lost.
Installation of the BusPON network must be carried out through the dedicated BusPON Metro-X system. Dr. Chan estimates that the bandwidth offered by 80 BusPON systems will suffice to fully cover the 1,100 square kilometres of land area and the connectivity needs of 7 million people in Hong Kong. As the Government strives to turn Hong Kong into a smart city, the advantages of BusPON technology are apparent.
HKSTP’s ecosystem helps business development
Trinity Photonics graduated from HKSTP’s Incu-Tech programme in 2013. Its development is sure to accelerate as it has joined the Leap Enterprise Promotion Program (LEAP) in recent years. Dr. Chan believes that the incubation support from HKSTP has not only helped the company gain funding support, but also connect them with different stakeholders within the Park’s ecosystem and hire talent. HKSTP has also helped in in areas such as drafting business development and marketing plans, and finding investors and partners, which he admitted to have little knowledge about when he first started Trinity Photonics.
With global population exceeding 7 billion and countless individuals using multiple devices that need internet access, the demand for network performance will only go up. This will give BusPON ample room for development, to build a robust launch platform for smart cities to take off around the world, Dr. Chan believes.