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FTTx: Pandemic Streaming and Beyond

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FTTx: Streaming in the time of COVID and beyond

We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. The “lockdown growth” in OTT subscriptions.
  2. Leveraging FTTx to meet high data usage
  3. Role of FTTx Mantra

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

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

How OTTs saw a Massive Surge During Lockdowns?

“This is absolutely fake. If you want free Netflix, please use someone else’s account like the rest of us.”

Netflix India threw this pearl on Twitter when a user asked people to dial a telephone number to get a free Netflix account. It’s common knowledge that a large number of people use other people’s accounts to “Netflix”. Despite that, the OTT platform added almost 16 million subscribers and reported a revenue of $5.77 billion in its first quarter of 2020. Netflix called this surge in subscriptions the “lockdown growth”.

Netflix and other OTT platforms are only one of the marvels of Internet connectivity that have come handy during this crisis. Internet connectivity has come to the rescue for individuals and businesses in COVID-19 pandemic in many ways.

Data Usage is Surging

The data usage has increased alarmingly thanks to the lockdowns and travel restrictions across the globe. Data seems to be the only thing that can travel these days. In India, data traffic has jumped 47% in comparison to 2019. This translates to 11 GB a month per user. In Spain, mobile data consumption has jumped by 30%.

The upsurge in data usage traffic, and need for more bandwidth and greater customer experience need to be complemented with lower latency. The service providers now face a challenge to scale last-mile performance and bandwidth while reducing the costs and effectively monetising last-mile assets.

Is FTTx the Answer?

Fibre to the x has emerged as an answer for service providers who want to maximise performance and increase reliability for deployments in a broad range of environments. FTTx solutions have been able to provide ultra-high-speed last mile data connectivity enabling truly digital lives. With the growing demand for fibre architecture, the global FTTx market is expected to reach $1.09 billion by 2025.

While a traditional fiberized network infrastructure can answer the demands of today, it may struggle with the needs of tomorrow. With emerging technologies and 5G coming into foray, the legacy networks will need to be more competitive. The networks of future would overcome the constraints of a rigid physical infrastructure and would be software-driven. The virtual network functions would replace single-function network hardware and would allow for centralized control, with decentralized storage, compute and memory.

What CSPs need is an FTTx network that has the scale, latency and agility needed to suit all future requirements of emerging technologies.

In comes FTTx Mantra

STL’s FTTx Mantra unites design innovation and expertise in service engineering onto a single technology platform. It brings together the power of ingenious optical-fibre products, integrated network design, innovative virtualisation, inclusive approach to hyper-scale network deployment, and intelligent software solutions that use analytics and Big Data. The platform ensures faster and easier fibre infrastructure roll-out to the customers’ end-point. This new hands-on technology assists early adopters to reduce time-to-market of consumer broadband services as well as capital and operational costs of network deployment.

Know more about FTTx Mantra here.

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 an 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 use-cases of optical fibre cables include internet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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