According to many Internet historians, the development of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers “saved” the Internet from a collapse in its early years due to unexpected and dramatic increases in demand for bandwidth. EDFAs pump laser into fiber, increasing the power and capacity of optical signal. Now, Southampton Photonics is reportedly selling a multiport EDFA with eight amplifiers per unit sharing common pump lasers. The amps can be connected in series or in parallel and are more reliable than single amp systems through redundancy, according to company chairman David Payne, who invented the EDFA in 1986. This development promises, once again, to significantly increase capacity in the existing network while lowering costs.
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