KU professor receives patent for research to speed Internet, other communications


Lawrence,KS (09-09-2002)

From University Relations
By Michelle Ward



LAWRENCE -- A University of Kansas professor whose research has led to a method to increase speed for Internet and other fiber optic communications recently received a U.S. patent for his efforts.

Ron Hui, KU assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, earned the patent for work entitled, "Method and device for encoding data into high speed optical train." New modulators that would vary the amplitude, frequency or phase of the fiber optics will not need to be created to increase communication
speed. Hui, along with fellow researchers Jin Hong and Maurice O'Sullivan, created the encoding devices and methods that can be upgraded as advances in modulator technology occur.

"The results were quite impressive, so we decided to write a patent application," said Hui, a faculty investigator in the KU Information and Telecommunication Technology Center's Lightwave Communication
Systems Laboratory.

Patent number 6,438,148 resulted from the researchers' work with Nortel Networks, an Ontario, Canada, company that delivers networking and communications services and infrastructure for customers in more than 150 countries. Nortel Networks spends $2.5 billion a year on research and development by approximately 17,400 engineers, designers, scientists at 31 sites around the world, according to its Web site.

The need for speed has developed from the Internet's rapid growth in data traffic. The vast growth in traffic has continually challenged Web site developers to produce higher-quality sites. Thus, the Internet has evolved from supporting simple text data to high-quality voice data, images and real-time video. In return, customer performance expectations have driven researchers to develop high-capacity and high-speed networks to support the daily needs of modern communications.

Since 1983, the transmission capacity of optical fiber systems has doubled every 2.4 years and does not appear to be slowing. While higher performance systems will be needed to handle increasing volumes of future traffic, researchers must adhere to industry's increased emphasis on reducing the cost of building, owning and operating optical communications systems. This makes Hui's patent even more important as it adapts its device and method to current programs. It makes improvements within the current system and allows for future upgrades.

"The importance of working with industry is to solve practical research problems that are relevant to advancing the state-of-the-art," said Victor Frost, ITTC director and Dan F. Servey distinguished professor of electricalengineering and computer science.

Hui has created a volume of research during his short time at KU. For his work, he received the Miller Award for Research this spring from the KU School of Engineering. He has worked on numerous research projects at ITTC including acting as the sole principal investigator on eight projects that total $1.5 million. Since joining KU in 1997, he has filed for seven U.S. patents and written 11 journal papers and eight refereed conference papers.

ITTC comprises six major research laboratories with more than 30 faculty researchers and 130 students to investigate numerous aspects of the convergence of computing, communication and sensor technologies. Supported by current Kansas leaders, Industry Advisory Board, governmental funding agencies, and local and international corporate partners, ITTC represents an all-in-one information technology "solution."


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