At the moment, sending data via fiber means blasting a light signal down the line. The farther you want the data to travel, the more power you need to put into the light beam. However, higher-power data signals can actually interact with the material of the fiber line, getting noise degradation into the signal.
The researchers, working out of Bell Laboratories and led by Xiang Liu, tried a technique similar to the way noise-cancelling headphones work to improve the data signal quality across longer distances.
Instead of one light beam, two beams that are mirror images of each other are sent through the fiber. Each beam will gather noise per usual, but that distortion will also be mirrored, so when the two beams are recombined at their destination, the noise is cancelled out. … Read more