Data consumption is growing everyday, whether at home, workplace or on the move. The amount of data people produce and consume every day is truly mind-boggling. Disruptive events like the recent covid-19 pandemic lead to large traffic bursts and demand for data. The pandemic resulted in millions of people worldwide using video conferencing for learning and working from home and other activities.
The increase in data consumption during the pandemic gave rise to a demand for increased bandwidth. As economic activity depended on digital infrastructure more than ever, investments in network rollout accelerated. Telecommunications networks were primarily engineered with the goal of handling peak traffic and data consumption.
Covid-19 pandemic and data consumption trends
The internet has emerged as the lifeblood of global economies for the past few decades and is vital in fueling tech advancements and innovation. In the current age of information superhighways, data has become the new visa in many ways. It is ubiquitous and unhindered by any physical borders.
The covid-19 pandemic enhanced the importance of the internet in the lives of people. As commuting and traveling came to a halt during the pandemic, there was a tremendous increase in internet consumption. It was mainly due to the adoption of work-from-home. It led to:
- Increase in traffic: Several regions across the planets experienced a 30-100% increase in network traffic. The majority of this came from video conferencing and collaboration tools.
- Symmetric traffic: Traditionally, data usage was mainly asymmetric, which was focused on downloads. However, it became more symmetric during the pandemic, as most user traffic was upstream and downstream.
- Low latency requirement: Many enterprise applications moved to the cloud during the pandemic, demanding low network latency.
- Usage patterns shifted: Due to the rise in video streaming services and home internet usage, data consumption patterns shifted significantly to residential localities.
Robust optical fiber infrastructure became the need of the hour due to the increased critical nature of the digital infrastructure.
The 5G advantage
The 5G network can better suit current and future needs. It has more incredible transmission speed and lower latency than 4G. Therefore, it has higher capacity for remote execution, the possibility of implementing virtual networks (network slicing), and supports more connected devices.
Use of passive optical network (PON)
The wireless radio channels must be adjusted to drive the high bandwidth requirement of 5G. Even though it does have the ability to support higher capacities, it comes with one key drawback that is distance. The logical solution to this issue is passive optical networks (PONs), already available for fiber-to-the-home connectivity. The passive optical network allows 5G data to be transported via fibers from the radio towers to the radio access network (RAN).
PON is very efficient, reliable, and flexible enough to provide front haul transport for fixed and cellular broadband in a single network. It further provides the system with a significant advantage over other distribution networks that need diverse types of distribution for distinguished technologies.
With the aim to meet the data consumption requirements of the world, 5G networks are moving toward mass deployment. PON is majorly recognized as part of the blueprint of 5G transport from the antenna to the RAN in this situation.
Fiberization in India
India being a developing country; here, as a citizen, we can find many unplanned activities and accidental fibre cable cuts. Keeping the networks up is often a significant challenge for the installers. Even though India is the second-largest telecommunication market globally, fibre deployment in India is much lower than in other key markets.
To meet the market requirements, India has to target a deployment rate of 150 MKm fibre/year in the next few years to achieve 1.3 fibre/capita by 2035.In today’s time, the need for this level of fiberization is exceptionally high.
Fiberization refers to connecting towers with the core and radio via optical fibre cables, enabling the full utilisation of network capacity and bringing out the best standards. Fiberization also provides good backhaul support to the network. Large-scale fibre deployment in India is vital to meet the needs of the 5G network.
The key indicators of communication network
- How easily can the system be installed, upgraded, and maintained
- How many devices can it connect: The number of terminal points
- How far can the fibre go without having significant loss: Optical power loss, optical signal to noise ratio (OSNR)
- How much data can it send to the optical fibre: Usable spectrum
- How fast can the data travel: Optical communication via fibre, latency
Bend insensitive fibre
Bend loss implies that optical fibres exhibit added propagation loss by coupling light from core to cladding modes when bent. Typically, such loss rises quickly once a certain critical bend radius is reached.
Usage of Bend Insensitive G.657.A2 Fibre can help manage the issues associated with bend loss. It assures more bend and less loss. The reduced operational expense can be observed with bend-insensitive fibre, leading to 10+ years of network life. Lower loss increases repair resilience, thereby enhancing overall network life.
BOW-LITE (E) – A solution to the network requirements of today
BOW LITE bend insensitive fibre is ideal for meeting contemporary PON and 5G requirements. It aims to reduce bend loss by a minimum of 15 times and subsequently can provide improved performance in tight bend scenarios. BOW LITE effectively functions at higher wavelengths to support the next-gen PON technologies.
The refractive index (RI) profile that allows for functional attributes like better performance at higher wavelengths, lower bend loss, and bends resilience, is achieved by creating an optical trench outside the core.
Integrated innovation in cable, fibre, and connectivity helps implement additional fibre capacity into an entire legacy infrastructure to achieve converged networks at a reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). Fibre deployment in India needs to be upgraded to meet the country’s existing and future data consumption requirements.