DARPA awards high-speed communications development contracts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded contracts worth $26 million to Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J., for work on a pair of high-speed optical communications projects.

Lucent's Bell Labs will lead a team developing a prototype laser satellite link over the next two years for $13.4 million. The lab will receive another $12.5 million over the next four years to develop an all-optical router capable of speeds of up to 100 terabytes per second.

The laser system is being created for the second phase of the Coherent Communications Imaging and Targeting program. Bell Labs and its New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium are leading the work, which will use Micro Mechanical System Spatial Light Modulators to manipulate laser light. The goal is a prototype with multi-Gbps uplink speeds by March 2006. It will be field tested by the Air Force.

The optical router is being developed for the Integrated Router Interconnected Spectrally program administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y. The job requires integrating more than 100 active components onto a single chip. The chip will optimize traffic patterns, handling the routing and scheduling of packets and switching them at speeds below a nano-second.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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