KDPOF has conducted a study examining the influence of home networking on online gaming and video streaming. For online gaming, the delay between an action the player intends to perform in the game and its actual effect on the screen can totally ruin the experience. Among gamers, this latency is known as ping or lag. The action issued by the player has to go through different network segments until it reaches the game server; it is then processed and the response travels back to the gamer. Numbers over 150 ms are a total no-go experience while being under 20 ms is considered a very good behavior.

KDPOF Study Reports Significant Effect of Home Networking on Online Gaming Experience

“There are three main segments that can influence the latency level: online game servers, access network, and home networking,” explained Carlos Pardo, CEO and Co-founder of KDPOF. “Our study showed that the home network plays a key role in the whole experience. Average values as low as 1 ms and up to 30 ms could be found.” A good solution is wired connectivity over plastic optical fiber (POF). It provides very low latency and jitter, just like Ethernet wiring but without visible cabling installed.

The Importance of Low Latency for Home Networks

The number one home network technology used nowadays in any home is Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, it provides little control over when each node has access to the air. Any packet loss is not noticeable for services such as web browsing, but when delivering video related services, these crashes generate peaks of latency. Those packets need to be retransmitted, extending the time required to reach the other end. If a device in the same environment is connected over Ethernet directly to the access router, the picture changes significantly. “It is not surprising that gamers prefer to connect over wires rather than Wi-Fi due to these effects,” added Carlos Pardo. “Delays are getting even worse with the rapid increase of multiple Wi-Fi access points of Wi-Fi mesh in the home.”

Plastic Optical Fiber Combined with Wi-Fi

Since wired connectivity adds only negligible latency to the path, it is recommended over wireless for the in-home portion. With its ease of installation, lack of aesthetic impact, robustness, and stability, plastic optical fiber is the ideal solution to contribute to a perfect online gaming experience. The ultimate home network solution is one that combines the advantages of a POF backbone with Wi-Fi access points throughout the home. It secures 1 Gb/s speed to each access point, avoiding any loss inherently present with wireless due to distance, walls or interference. While Wi-Fi links provide latencies on the level of milliseconds, POF is on the level of microseconds, i.e. 1000 times better.

POF can easily be installed in any duct throughout the home: power, coaxial, or telephone conduits, or easily hidden on walls, under carpets or through false ceilings. Devices that connect to the network via Wi-Fi will continue to use that connection, but will enjoy the dedicated 1 Gb/s speed of the POF network. This way, Wi-Fi speed experienced anywhere in the home is the same as next to the router.

Demo: World’s First 50 Gb/s Automotive-grade Optical Network

KDPOF has successfully participated at the virtual ISCAS 2020 in October with several contributions: a presentation on multi-gigabit Ethernet for the automotive industry, an overview lecture on high-speed data communications over POF, and an important role in the final industry panel session. The IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) is the flagship conference of the IEEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society and the world’s premiere networking forum for researchers in the highly active fields of theory, design, and implementation of circuits and systems.

Towards the Multi-Gigabit Ethernet for the Automotive Industry

Session Chairmen Enrique Prefasi Sen, Analog and Mixed Signal Senior Designer of KDPOF, and Alberto Rodríguez-Pérez, Analog and Mixed Signal Manager of KDPOF, have presented the paper “Towards the Multi-Gigabit Ethernet for the Automotive Industry”. The paper, within the special session “Multi-gigabit Wireline & Optical Communication Circuits & Systems Session”, showed the status of Ethernet-based communication solutions, focused on optical links for the automotive industry. They displayed the implementation of a product compatible with the 1000BASE-RHC according to the IEEE Std 802.3bv, which is the first one able to transmit 1 Gbps over POF for automotive. In addition, the KDPOF experts described a new architecture to achieve up to 25 Gbps for automotive. The proposed multi-gigabit system leverages existing technologies such as VCSELs, multi-mode fibers, and photodiodes already developed for the data center industry.

High-Speed Data Communications over Fiber Optics

In his lecture, Alberto Rodríguez-Pérez gave an overview of the use of Plastic Optical Fiber as a medium for optical data communications and the techniques needed to get high speed data bitrates over POF. It is an interesting alternative optical communication channel to the Glass Optical Fibers (GOF) for applications that are not required to cover long distances, such as home or automotive networking. However, the reduced low bandwidth of the POF channel imposes big limitations in the maximum data bitrate that can be transmitted through this medium. Consequently, advanced data communication techniques such as channel equalization, data error correction, or data signal modulation need to be applied to achieve data bitrates above 1 Gbps.

Please see here for the video explaining the Multi-Gigabit demo.

Work Profile:

We are hiring a member of the R&D team in charge of the design of very high-speed electrical connectivity working with ASIC and PCB design teams. Special focus on signal integrity, power integrity and EMI/EMS aspects of the signal transmission. Knowledge and experience on electromagnetics simulations and RF design and testing. Application to PCB design, ICs substrates and packages, wire bonding, etc. EMI/EMS testing and pre-compliance testing using the pre-compliance lab at KDPOF office.

The systems that need to be developed in collaboration with the R&D team include:

  • Opto-electronics Multigigabit Ethernet PHYs (e.g. substrate, package, wire bonding)
  • PIC test PCBs:
    • IC bring-up test PCBs,
    • IC PVT characterization tests PCBs
    • IC ATE PCBs
    • IC qualification PCBs (HTOL, HTB, ESD, etc)
  • IC evaluation boards and reference designs in collaboration with FAE and customer support,
  • The systems are wideband, covering frequencies from tens of kHz to tens of GHz

Required Skills:

  • Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering or equivalent
  • Solid understanding of electromagnetic theory applied to RF design and testing as well as EMC design and testing
  • Experience in RF design
  • Experience in EM simulation with Keysight ADS and EMPRO
  • Experience in PCB design, focused on high speed links
  • Working knowledge of analog and digital electronics, including details such as component resonances, power devices switching behavior, leakage reactance, plane resonances, and effects of dielectric constant variability, etc.
  • Experience with RF test equipment, use, calibration and interpretation of results (spectrum analyzers, network analyzers, oscilloscopes, signal generators, antennas, coupling clamps, field probes, etc.)
  • Basic knowledge in Matlab is welcome
  • Fluent written and verbal English communication skill is a must: all internal documentation is written in English

Desired Attitude:

  • Continuous search for technical excellence
  • Passion for learning from experience
  • Critical and constructive attitude
  • Capability to accept system design responsibilities. Design: in a broad sense, from the design to the validation in the laboratory and iteration
  • Proactive (problem solving) attitude,
  • Team membership attitude

Others:

  • The role is in Madrid (Tres Cantos)
  • The position reports to the ASIC Manager
  • The role works with all our product portfolios
  • Competitive salary to negotiate according to the candidate’s experience
  • Total employee health insurance and partial spouse and child insurance by KDPOF if applicable.
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Installing POF in the home is very fast and simple but, like other communication installations, it should be verified. The typical way to confirm that the installation is working is to check the link LED indicators. But this provides no indication of how well or how badly the POF link is working. It makes a difference because optical communication suffers attenuations from the fiber length, bending, a bad cut or bad insertion. An installation working close to the sensitivity limit may fail in the future due to small extra attenuations (aging, thermal changes, equipment is hit, etc.)

In order to ensure that the installation has been done properly and is operating with a sufficient margin, checking the link quality is recommended. This video demonstrates the KDPOF debugging tool. It allows monitoring of the POF links in an installation where a KDPOF daisy-chain outlet is used. The monitor application will give information about the outlet ID, operating time, connected ports speed and, of course, the link margin of the optical ports.

List of materials used in the video:

  • 2x POF media converters + PSUs
  • 1x POF daisy chain outlet + PSU
  • POF cable
  • 2x laptop
  • 1x STB
  • 3x UTP cable
  • KDPOF monitoring tool
Video: Point-to-point Link with POF Media Converters
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Installing POF will help to improve the Internet connectivity in the home. A POF link can cover up to 50 m, giving 1 Gb/s performance. The installation does not require high-level skills and can be done with simple tools. POF cable is typically installed through the existing conduits in the house, so it’s easy to reach any room and keep the cable hidden.

This video shows how to connect and check a point-to-point (P2P) POF link by using commercial media converters. Key points are the simplicity and quickness of the cut and connect. The media converter consists of one RJ45 copper port and one optical POF port. It allows the implementation of a P2P link which can cover, for example:

  • Improve wireless connectivity of the furthest room: [Router] <-> POF <-> [WiFi Access Point]
  • Move the router to the optimum place: [ONT] <-> POF <-> [Router]

List of materials used in the video:

  • 2x POF media converters + PSUs
  • POF cable
  • POF cutter
  • 2x laptops
  • 2x UTP cable