​Research institute collaborates with domestic firms to localize 5G optical components

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : December 29, 2020, 11:41 | Updated : December 29, 2020, 11:41

[Courtesy of ETRI]

SEOUL -- A state research institute has localized core components used for 5G optical communication which has been established in South Korea. Base stations for South Korea's 5G networks have used Japanese products for optical cables to support ultra-fast data transfer.

While the data transfer speed of 4G mobile communication tops out at 100 megabits per second, the speed of 5G can reach up to 25 gigabits per second. Optical cables connect 5G base stations using the wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technique.

WDM uses a strand of an optical fiber to send signals of different wavelengths. The technique allows base stations to transmit signals faster through multi-channels. It is vital for connecting 5G base stations which are positioned more densely than 4G stations.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said in a statement on December 29 that through cooperation with small-and-medium-sized companies (SMEs), it has developed 20 kinds of optical parts. Since the project was launched in June last year, 11 products have been commercialized to record sales of about 2.7 billion won ($2.4 million) as of December 2020.

ETRI has localized optical source parts that support WDM. An optical source is an electro-optic device that converts electric signals into light signals. The institute said that domestic companies have adopted localized optical source parts to replace Japanese products. Some parts have been exported to China.

The institute said that it would localize more optical components by the end of 2021 for companies that create and manage high-speed data networks and data centers.
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