Fiber optic technology has proved to be a turning point in networking technology. It has led to many benefits and opened gates of new possibilities that go beyond the limits of old and conventional copper-based systems.
In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of fiber optics to better understand this technology. We will also highlight the recent developments and look into the upcoming changes in this transformative technology.
What are fiber optics?
Fibre optics, often known as optical fiber, is a technology that transfers data in the form of light pulses along a glass or plastic fiber.
A fiber optic cable can comprise a few to several hundred of these glass fibers. The glass fiber core is surrounded by another glass layer known as cladding. The buffer tube layer protects the cladding, and the jacket layer protects the individual strands.
Since fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and transmit speed, they are widely used over copper connections. Fibre optics is also utilized in high-performance, long-distance data networking. It’s also widely used in telecommunications services, including the Internet, television, and phones. For instance, Verizon and Google utilize fiber optics in their Verizon FIOS and Google Fibre services, respectively, to provide subscribers with Gigabit internet speeds.
History of fiber optics:
The technological advancements in fiber optics did not happen in a day. Instead, it took many years of hard work for scientists and engineers to develop this revolutionary technology that shapes our modern world. This ground-breaking idea was of Charles Kuen Kao, who is popularly known as the “Father of Fiber Optics.” His idea was to use glass fibers to transport light messages over large distances, for which he also received a Nobel Prize in 2009.
Later, Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, and Peter Schultz used Kao’s theory to create the first optical fiber using a fused silica core and a cladding layer to direct light in 1970 at Corning Glass Works. These milestones proved to be the groundwork for fiber optic communication technologies.
Based on the previous invention, the TPC-5 all-optic fiber line with optical amplifiers was laid across the Pacific Ocean in 1996. In the subsequent year, the Fibre Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) network achieved the distinction of being the most extensive network consisting of a single cable, thereby establishing the foundation for the forthcoming era of Internet services.
Now that we know the basics of fiber network, let us look at how it is used in telecommunication.
As mentioned above, Fibre optic technology has emerged as the fundamental concept of modern communication systems. It meets all the bandwidth requirements of significant organizations, cloud operators, and internet service providers. It makes networks more extensive, efficient, and flexible so that services can be set up and tuned on demand. Using its greater wavelength capacity and wavelengths per fiber, the telecom industry can now offer services for individual user endpoints of up to 1 Gbps and even more.
The need for fiber optics skyrocketed with the rise in mobile traffic, so there is a better method to manage the spectrum. As LTE moves towards LTE-Advanced, which includes Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and 5G, network operators face the challenge of offering services with more capacity and less latency. This is especially important in cities with lots of people. To meet these needs, new fiber network technologies with high spectrum efficiency are being developed.
Global Customer Service Providers are being pushed to increase bandwidth capacity because more people want to talk on the phone, use video-on-demand services, and use cloud-based apps. This makes it essential to make improvements. For the urban convergence network to have a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), it must have a uniform billing and management system. This means that a low-attenuation, high-bandwidth backhaul network that can handle multiple multimedia services at the same time is needed.
Moreover, in this situation, it’s essential that the Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is scalable, stable, and has high speed for a converged network topology that offers multimedia services. To have a big impact in the digital world, Customer Service Providers must successfully combine existing and new technologies into a unified optical packet network that can keep up with the growing needs of modern communication.
Recent innovation in the fiber network:
Over three decades ago, optical communication (OC) unveiled its potential for data transmission, encompassing wireless Free Space Optical (FSO) and physical wire-based fiber optic technologies. With ever-increasing demands for enhanced capacity, reduced energy consumption, and cost-effective system designs to enable novel applications and emerging technologies, a global collaboration of researchers from diverse fields such as Electronics, communications, photonics, and signal processing have fueled progress. Here are some of the recent developments in this field.
Elastic optical network (EON):
The Elastic Optical Network (EON) represents a network framework strategically crafted to meet the surging need for adaptable allocation of visual network resources. Its core purpose is to facilitate versatile bandwidth distribution, accommodating diverse transmission systems encompassing coding rates, modulation methods, transponder types, and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing. This newfound flexibility, while invaluable, introduces a set of challenges, including the intricate re-optimization of networks, the potential for spectrum fragmentation, and the optimization of amplifier power settings. In light of these challenges, the seamless integration of control elements (including controllers and orchestrators) and optical monitors at the hardware level emerges as paramount. This integration is essential in ensuring the operational
efficiency and effectiveness of the EON.
OC super-channel with high capacity and speed:
An effective alternative that offers swift, long-range, efficient spectral utilization, and substantial data capacity links, all while maintaining reliable performance, emerges in the form of innovative super-channel technology. This technology employs dual-polarization quadrature phase shift keying (DP-QPSK) to transmit data across a solitary channel via a series of sub-carriers. Remarkably, these unique modulation techniques facilitate data transmission exceeding 100 Gbps over a singular channel. However, it’s important to acknowledge their limitations—constrained support for multiple links and susceptibility to challenges like multipath fading, nonlinearity loss, and phase distortion. Addressing these issues, coherent detection and digital signal processing (DSP) is implemented at the receiver end, mitigating these limitations and ultimately enhancing overall performance.
Network coding (NC) for physical OC security:
Within optical networks, Network Coding (NC) finds application in a threefold role: it serves as a protective measure against link failures, amplifies the efficiency of multicasting, and provides a shield for private communications against unauthorized access. The mechanism involves XORing private signals with other signals traversing diverse nodes, resulting in signal merging either at the source or intermediary nodes.
This amalgamation complicates decryption for potential eavesdroppers, bolstering the security of confidential connections. Research showcases that Network Coding not only enhances security but also does so while minimizing spectrum usage, offering a comprehensive security framework for private communications.
In conclusion, it can be observed that the field of Fibre Optic Technology has experienced a significant and noteworthy evolution. It has become imperative in the current era, marked by rapid speeds, increased bandwidth, and exceptional reliability in contemporary networks. The advancement of high-density cables, connectors, and enhanced durability has significantly contributed to the rapid progress of this technology. Furthermore, recent enhancements in fiber optic transmission speeds have further propelled its development. The potential of fiber optics in the future is substantial, notwithstanding the potential obstacles that may be encountered. This assertion holds particular significance when considering the future, wherein nascent fiber-optic applications are poised to revolutionize data centers and internet networks.
Through continuous research and advancement, we find ourselves on the cusp of uncovering novel domains that have the potential to significantly transform our methods of communication and information dissemination within the contemporary digital era. Throughout the course of technological advancement, Brilliant Mind has consistently maintained its reputation as a reliable and unwavering entity, providing a wide array of fiber optic solutions over an extended period of time. Their range of products, including Fibre Optic Media Converters and fiber optic telephone multiplexers have played a crucial role in the establishment of networks that demonstrate exceptional speed and consistent performance in several industries. This significant advancement brings us closer to promoting connectivity that is both rapid and consistently reliable, highlighting the crucial significance of fiber optics in defining the forthcoming interconnected future.