Demand for bandwidth and connectivity has been growing since the first days of the internet and it shows no signs of slowing. As businesses and consumers come to rely on ever more bandwidth-hungry applications, from streaming media and games to low-latency real-time communication, the optical access network that supplies homes and businesses is put under increasing strain.
Coherent optics, once considered too expensive and impractical outside of long haul fiber connections, is becoming an economically viable solution to constrained bandwidths in optical access networks as a result of research carried out by CableLabs.
The optical fiber that connects the service provider headend with the fiber nodes that supply bandwidth to homes and businesses is already at capacity in many cases. Fiber runs originally included redundant fibers, but over time much of that redundancy has been put to work. Retrenching fiber across the US would be astronomically expensive, and, as cable companies migrate to a deep fiber N+0 architecture, the HFC network will be expected to supply more optical nodes with more data at greater speeds.
Coherent optics offers a solution without the expense of fiber retrenching. Coherent optics can use the existing fiber network but is capable of achieving higher speeds than other optical technologies. In experiments, CableLabs has been able to achieve speeds of 256 Gbps, approximately 26 times the capacity of a standard analog optical carrier.
Coherent optics achieves such impressive speeds by using amplitude and phase modulation and polarization to send data, resulting in increased speeds with lower power requirements.
In addition to improving the speed and reliability of wired networking, coherent optics is likely to be a key component of future 5G mobile connectivity. 5G, with its significantly increased speeds and reduced latencies, will put pressure on the fiber backhaul that connects mobile base stations to service providers. High-capacity coherent optical systems will increase the capacity of existing networks, allowing optical backhaul to keep pace with rapidly evolving mobile networks.
Given the rapid pace of innovation in both the wired and wireless networking spaces, cable and wireless providers, internet service providers, and any other business that seeks to leverage emerging network technology must work hard to stay ahead of the curve.
Businesses that fail to cultivate the necessary expertise and leadership will find themselves at a significant disadvantage. The current healthy economic climate provides incredible opportunities for growth, but low unemployment and heated competition will make it increasingly difficult to hire the right technical leadership.
TD Madison has provided technical training, executive recruitment, and staff augmentation services to the cable and wireless industry for over three decades. To start your search for executive candidates with the expertise you need, get in touch today.