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EPSRC iCASE Studentship - Creating a Photonic Networking Layer

University of Cambridge - Department of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible UK students. International (including EU) students may be considered for partial funding (home-level fees and maintenance).
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 16th September 2021
Closes: 2nd December 2021
Reference: NM26430

Applications are invited for a joint BT/EPSRC ICASE-funded PhD project in the area of optical fibre communication systems.

Currently optical networking is driven by the networking layer with the Internet Protocol (IP), treating the physical photonic layer as static pipes with no intelligence. However, with the emergence of pluggables such as 400G-OpenZR+, offering 400 Gbit/s over 1400 km using DP-16QAM, pluggables could be integrated into routers creating a compelling the case for converging IP layer routing and with the DWDM photonic layer, in which the DWDM photonic layer will offer space and wavelength multiplexing and switching. This in turn has the potential to create a significant shift in the design and operation of the transport network architecture by co-designing the network layer switching with the physically layer for create a photonic networking layer, able to easily implement concepts such as segment-based routing. It is anticipated moving to a converged photonic networking layer will allow for the network architecture to scale as data rates continue to grow exponentially. Key issues to be determined would be to quantify the benefit of a photonic networking layer compared to existing approaches for the BT core network, in terms of network availability, resilience and throughput.

The student will be based in the Department of Engineering where they will have access to The Fibre Optic Communication Systems laboratory which icludes state of the art transceivers, a 1200 km of optical line system with multichannel 120 GSa/s arbitrary waveform generator and a multichannel 256 GSa/s digital oscilloscope for signal detection. They will also interact heavily with researchers from BT, benefitting from discussion, insights and feedback from practitioners at BT and more broadly, through greater interaction with partners in industry and academia.

The applicant should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2:1 (and preferably a Masters degree) in engineering or a related subject such as computer science, mathematics, statistics or physics. For informal enquires please contact Prof Seb Savory (email

EPSRC ICASE studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible UK students. International (including EU) students may be considered for partial funding (home-level fees and maintenance).

Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at:

Applications should be submitted via the University of Cambridge Graduate Admissions web pages, with Prof Seb Savory identified as the potential supervisor. If you have already applied but wish to be considered for this studentship please email Prof Seb Savory directly

Please note that there are two deadlines available for this studentship, 4 October 2021 deadline for a January 2022 start and before 2 December 2021 for October 2022 start.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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