Increasing Need for Future-Ready FTTx

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Internet advancements becoming indistinguishable from magic.
  2. Are the Service Providers Catching Up With the Surge?
  3. How to Make FTTx Future-Ready?

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

It was around this day in 1971 when Intel released the first commercially available microprocessor. The feat, perhaps, went on to form a perfect storm that gave birth to the Internet. Almost 50 years down the road, the Internet is not only powering world economies, but has become an existential need for societies to thrive and, in some cases, survive.

The last two decades saw Internet advancements becoming indistinguishable from magic. The dial-ups have given way to fibre-optic powered broadband connections that dish out inordinate number of gigabytes per minute. This light-paced, hyper connectivity will cease to reduce in the future given the massive and aggressive consumption and demand of data.

Are the Service Providers Catching Up With the Surge?

Humans are consuming about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and the number is only going to increase. The videos and apps have changed the time of the day usage patterns and attached devices have edged past PC and smartphone with regards to data usage. This year, the data we create and copy annually is expected to reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. In this age of aggressive data consumption through all corners of technology paradigm, businesses and consumers demand ubiquitous connectivity and superior broadband speeds that support bandwidth-intensive services.

Service providers have stepped up to provide consistent, customised experience with on-demand bandwidth and low latency. They have found solace in Fibre Network Optics (FTTx) connectivity to make legacy networks more competitive for leveraging advanced technologies within new and existing right of ways. FTTx does help CSPs maximise performance and increase reliability for deployments in a broad range of environments, therefore, it has seen tremendous growth numbers in the last few years.

FTTx is the Answer, But …

There is no doubt that FTTx seems to tick all the right boxes given the rising demand of ubiquitous connectivity for technologies of today and future. However, it has an expensive provisioning since the network is rolled out in phases spread across several months or, in some cases, several years. According to Delta Partner Analysis, 62% FTTx uptake is required for pay back.

How to Make FTTx Future-Ready?

For FTTx to not have expensive provisioning, it needs to have a comprehensive network design that makes it executionable, hyper scale, and future-ready. Here’s how CSPs can do to design and orchestrate a new-age network for FTTx:

Fibre as the physical layer

The future FTTx network needs a physical layer that can handle high data demand and be deployed easily. Fibre products can form the layer and play a source for uninterrupted connection as the demand for FTTx data goes higher.

Virtualization is need of the hour

The demand for FTTx is unpredictable, therefore, the future networks need to be nimble enough to factor the changes in scale and type of demand. An innovative architecture with virtualization at the core is required to make the network agile, faster, more responsive and cost-effective.

Emphasis on Customer Experience

At a time when 5G is not a distant dream and emerging technologies are poised to play a crucial role in powering future generation, a successful CSP will be the one that can marry customer, service and network monetisation processes in the most cost-effective way. These networks will use big data and analytics to provide actionable insights to the providers. Also, these can catalyse their revenue and business operations and drive data-driven decision-making.

Looking at the need of re-inventing themselves, service providers have already begun their digital transformation with different goals and priorities. A future-ready FTTx network would prove to be extremely handy for them during this journey. However, an end-to-end approach that can integrate the potential of each element would be needed for the FTTx network to unveil its full potential.

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 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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