Japan – NEC Corporation, OCC Corporation and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Complete First Trial of Submarine Cable with Multicore Fiber

NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701), its subsidiary OCC Corporation and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (TSE: 5802) announced today that they have completed the first trial of uncoupled(1) 4-core submarine fiber cable(2), and verified its transmission performance to meet the exacting demands of global telecommunications networks.
International data usage is expected to expand by 30-40% CAGR from 2020-2026(3), driven by factors such as the growth of 5G mobile data, and the need to share ever more content between data centers distributed around the world. To meet this demand, submarine networks are adopting space division multiplexing (SDM) technology, where the number of independent spatial channels is increased to maximize total system capacity, reduce power consumption and optimize cost per bit. Multicore fiber is now expected to further increase the number of parallel optical fiber cores without increasing the submarine cable size and structure, enabling the second generation of submarine SDM systems.

Multicore fiber submarine cable features

Conventional single mode fiber has a single core within an individual fiber. In contrast, each multicore fiber contains multiple cores (4 cores in this case). This represents a four-fold enlargement in the number of spatial channels for the same amount of optical fibers and with the same fiber structure: each fiber being 250micrometre diameter (0.25mm) after coating.

The uncoupled 4-core fiber is being deployed within the OCC SC500 series LW (Lightweight) cable, which has a 17mm outer diameter and withstands 8,000 meter water depth. This cable can accommodate up to 32 fibers. With multicore fiber, the number of cores can be increased without increasing the cable diameter, with corresponding benefits in the cost per bit of the cable system.

NEC and OCC have demonstrated that the cable’s optical transmission performance in the water fully meets the exacting requirements of modern long-haul submarine cables. They further showed that the process of cabling Sumitomo Electric’s multicore fiber has no effect on its optical characteristics, achieving excellent attenuation properties.

This research was supported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan, under the initiative “Research and Development of Innovative Optical Network Technology for a Novel Social Infrastructure” (JPMI00316).

(1) Uncoupled multicore fiber
Multicore fiber cables can be broadly divided into uncoupled and coupled multicore fibers. In coupled multicore fibers, the optical signals propagating in the respective cores tend to interfere with each other, requiring special signal processing at the optical receiver. In contrast, uncoupled multicore fibers minimize the interference between the cores, allowing conventional (lower complexity) transmitters/receivers to be used.

Japan – NEC and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction develop DokoMinaPhone, a multi-lingual speech translation app with simultaneous message broadcast function

NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) has developed a multilingual speech translation system with a simultaneous message broadcast function in cooperation with SUMITOMO MITSUI CONSTRUCTION CO, LTD. (Sumitomo Mitsui Construction) to support communications in environments where different languages are used, such as construction sites. This system has been adopted by Sumitomo Mitsui Construction’s “DoKoMinaPhone” smartphone application, making it is possible to broadcast translations to all users or designated working groups at once.

In the construction industry, as globalization continues, it has become a challenge to facilitate communication with the increasing number of international workers in Japan, as well as local employees at overseas locations. In order to solve this issue, this system has first been developed to provide voice translation and simultaneous broadcasting between Japanese and English.

System features

1. Provides a more natural translation similar to human speech
The system is equipped with a neural translation engine from the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), which is engaged in research and development, to provide more natural translation from Japanese to other languages or from other languages to Japanese.
2. Flexible group settings according to need or purpose
By launching a dedicated smartphone app, then scanning and authenticating a QR code, users can easily join a preset group and start communicating using automatic translation of voice calls.
3. Displays time series translation in chat format
Spoken content can be recorded and replayed, and “original,” “translated,” and “reverse-translated” text can be displayed on a screen in group chat format.

As seen in the above image, the remarks of a Japanese speaker are first displayed in the upper left of a screen. The remarks appear in the order of “original,” “translated” and “reverse-translated” sentences, then the response of an English speaker is displayed on the right side. Users can check whether the translation is correct or not by displaying “reverse-translated” text.

Going forward, NEC will leverage this experience with Sumitomo Mitsui Construction to encourage adoption of the system and “DoKoMinaPhone” application throughout the construction industry as part of contributing to smooth communications within international workforces. Moreover, in order to continually improve services, NEC will gather feedback from on-site workers who have actually used this system. This is in addition to increasing the number of languages that are supported, adding hands-free operation functions in consideration of worker safety, and accurately responding to technical terms and phrases specific to the construction field.

Through these efforts, NEC will improve functions so that the system can become a communication tool for use at construction sites around the world, and expand it into a variety of industries, including the transportation, distribution, and food and beverage industries, with the aim of creating new innovations that will solve communication issues related to language.

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.

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