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3 Solutions to Meet Incessant Bandwidth Demands

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. The global data demand is growing.
  2. What are the Three Enablers to Meet the Data Demands?
  3. Need for faster electronics, More wavelength to transmit data over and More Fibre.

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

Overview

Well, yes! The global data demand is growing at a rapid rate, more precisely at 26% CAGR as per Cisco VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast, 2017-2022.

What is the Reason Behind Such Massive Increase in Data Demand?

A simple reason for such massive increase in data demand is because of the ever-increasing devices and connections which are growing faster at 10% CAGR than both the world population (1% CAGR) and Internet Users (7 % CAGR).

Fast Internet 5G, Internet Speed,Global Data Demand

A connected 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV at your home consumes nearly 15-18 mbps of data. This is 3x more than the plain HD TV that you had a few years back. It is estimated that by 2022, 62% of connected flat panel TV sets will be 4K. This clearly points towards the increasing demand for data courtesy increasing video consumption.

The same is validated through the below graph on traffic growth due to different applications; Internet Video will amount to more than 71% of total data demand by 2022.

Global Internet Traffic Growth

Fine, so it’s established that users want more & more of data and less & less of lag. But how do ISPs and CSPs meet these demands?

What are the Three Enablers to Meet the Data Demands?

Fibre is the most scalable, secure and cost-effective option to transmit large volumes of data, uninterrupted for years. But fibre by itself cannot make this happen, what else are the enablers to meet the bandwidth demands of tomorrow?

  1. We need faster electronics
Optical Fibre

a. Electronics that can do “Modulation” faster. In simple language, the faster the light source can be turned on & off, or say, irradiation of the optical light source is varied, the faster you can transmit data over a strand of fibre. More wavelength to transmit data over:

2. More wavelength to transmit data over:

a. If we have the resource (read: fibre) that can utilise the entire available spectrum from 1260nm to 1620nm, we will have more
window to transmit data over. In the last 30 years, hardly ever we have gone beyond 1550nm. But the newer generations PONs are
pushing the fibre to function in the range of 1580nm to 1620nm.

Fibre to the home

b. With Wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), we can pack more data on a single fibre strand. So, on a single fibre strand, with
Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), you can have upto 128 different marginally spaced wavelengths, carrying different
packets of data, compounding your data transfer capability.

Wavelength division multiplexing (WDM)

3. More Fibre:

a. For all of the above mentioned enablers, fibre is the sole transport medium and hence, we need more & more of it. The demand by Global OTT players for their data centres, where data transfer need is in the range of 100Tb/sec, 3000+ fibre strand optical fibre cable is the minimum requirement.

Check out our blog on Shoot for the Stars: STL’s Data Consumption Dream & the Challenges Ahead

FAQs

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.

This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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