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July 2, 1990

AT&T RECKONS THE NEED FOR ELECTRO-OPTICAL REPEATERS MAY BE A THING OF THE PAST

By CBR Staff Writer

AT&T Co reckons that in four or five years it will be able to build undersea fibre optic cable systems without the need for the electro-optical repeaters that presently have to be used every 30 to 50 miles: the secret is to use pump lasers, which generate low resistence soliton waves, in combination with lengths of cable doped with the rare earth element Erbium, which amplifies the light signals as they pass through the section; the doped sections have to be installed about every 15 to 20 miles, but such a cable would carry signals at 5Gbps so that a trans-Atlantic cable could carry 700,000 simultaneous calls, against 560Mbps and 80,000 calls for the TAT-9 cable due to come into service next year; the new system would also be much cheaper to install and repair.

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