Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO)

The mission of the Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO) group is to consolidate and extend its position as a leading international center in the field of optical communication system technologies by performing cutting-edge research, providing an adequate technological infrastructure to support research and collaboration among academia and industry in photonics consortium efforts, facilitating technology transfer to the industry, preparing students for professional careers in telecommunications, and promoting economic development in association with photonic system industries, telecommunication operators and component manufacturers.

In telecommunication networks all over the world, capacity demands keep increasing at multi-digit growth rates throughout every network segment, even despite economic downturns. Taking advantage of the unique low loss and wideband characteristics of optical fibers, there is a continuous strong need for research worldwide in breakthrough optical networking techniques at all network layers.

Our vision is that telecommunication networks need to evolve in the far future to a globe-spanning “optical ether”: an ultra-broadband, congestion-free network interconnecting users via end-to-end, all-optical, transparent transmission routes. This vision encompasses the full hierarchical stack of network physical layers, and can be partitioned in four intertwined parts: 1) long-to-medium distance ultra-high capacity data transport between the network nodes, 2) ultra-fast transparent data routing inside the nodes, 3) bridging the heterogeneous final links to the end users in the access and in-building networks, and 4) managing and controlling the operation of all layers and their interaction, to establish end-to-end flawless delivery of services. These four parts are the lead motives of our research, and have led to the grouping of our research activities in four tracks:

  • The data transport track, in which techniques are investigated for extending the bit rates and the reach of data transmission through fiber to ultimate levels. Our research focuses here on exploiting additional wavelength bands of the fiber, on dense wavelength multiplexing, on spectrum-efficient signal modulation, and on ultra-fast optical time division multiplexing.
  • The data routing track, where techniques are under research for extremely fast optical signal routing and processing. Our research efforts encompass efficient hybrid electro-optical solutions, as well as all-optical signal processing using ultra-fast semiconductor phenomena to reach the ultimate speed, transparency and connectivity. Application areas reach from telecommunication nodes to data-center networks.
  • The user access track, where techniques are being investigated to extend the transparency of optical networking as close as possible to the end users in order to provide them with a vast information capacity, wide range of services, in combination with flexibility and mobility. We do research in advanced optical techniques for dynamically reconfigurable access networks in order to provide capacity on demand, in high-capacity data transmission and multiplexing techniques for easy-to-install (polymer) optical fiber in-building networks, and in radio-over-fiber techniques deploying dynamic routing for flexible and transparent delivery of high-capacity wireless services, as well as converged in-building network scenarios, in order to combine the strengths of optical and wireless communication.
  • The network management and control track, in which processes are investigated that enable autonomic end-to-end operation of the whole network, i.e., processes by which the network continuously adapts itself to the instantaneous service demands of the (roaming) users and their quality-of-experience requirements.

For more information on Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO) please go to: http://www.tue.nl/en/university/departments/electrical-engineering/research/research-programs/electro-optical-communications-eco/