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Future of Gigabit Broadband with pFTTx

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. How to Unlock the Full Potential of Gigabit Broadband?
  2. Is pFTTx the Future of Fibre?
  3. Programmable, Open and Disaggregated Solutions (PODS)

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 to Unlock the Full Potential of Gigabit Broadband?

New digital use cases are shaping our lives in ways which were once unimaginable. As these applications, services and devices emerge, users want more bandwidth, better speed and greater customer experience.

As a result, how this can be matched with increased bitrates and lower latency is one of the biggest challenges service providers face. To make this a reality, last-mile performance and bandwidth must scale to meet the demands of an increasing subscriber base. Service providers must make this happen while reducing the cost of last-mile connectivity and finding ways to effectively monetise last-mile assets.

To unlock the full potential of gigabit broadband, service providers must drastically reduce the time-to-market for new digital services, while setting the ball rolling for edge computing by disaggregating broadband networks and re-architecting central offices. The answer to this challenge lies in Programmable Fibre-to-the-x (pFTTx).

Is pFTTx the Future of Fibre?

To overcome these hurdles, service providers must design and deploy integrated network infrastructures which can support last-mile connectivity, including Passive Optical Networks (PONs) and Mobile Radio Access Networks (RANs). Traditionally, this has required significant investment, creating a significant roadblock and leaving service providers at a standstill.

If service providers are to meet customers’ ever-increasing demands, they must change the way they look at their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) models. While TCO reduction remains a key objective, service providers are realising that a programmable, open and disaggregated multi-access network can help them map their business requirements faster and align their technical roadmap with this.

When transitioning to Software Defined Networks (SDNs), the first step for service providers is to re-architect their central office through the disaggregation of hardware from the software layer. This can open up new possibilities, such as software abstraction, which can increase network agility, which will ultimately reduce the time taken to roll-out new services.  

As part of this, the next-generation PON can function as the access backbone for any other last-mile technology. Once this programmable and open infrastructure is extended to the last mile, the next step is to prepare for wireless technologies like 5G and ongoing capacity augmentation for 4G/LTE. With fibre available to the last mile, the network is ready for subsequent densification to the stringent requirements of 5G. The provisioning of dark fibre or having next-generation programmable PON will not only address 4G and 5G front-haul requirements but also enable roll-out readiness – ensuring faster time-to-market of innovative 5G services.

STL has the Answer

While the transition to an SDN may seem overwhelming, one technology innovator which is dedicated to enabling service providers to transform their existing FTTx networks to a pFTTx is Sterlite Technologies Limited (STL).

STL has developed the Programmable, Open and Disaggregated Solutions (PODS) which addresses service providers’ key challenges. Leveraging Open Networking Foundation (ONF) specifications such as SEBA, Trellis and COMA, PODS is designed to make pFTTx and Programmable Radio (pRadio) a reality.

With a solution such as this in place, service providers can have complete control over their own network, while reducing their hardware and software costs. By making the last-mile network programmable and agile, control over translating business requirements to technical features can be opened up, meaning service providers’ infrastructure will become lock-in free. Furthermore, open infrastructure at the last-mile can significantly reduce the time-to-market of premium and innovative services, as well as generate additional revenues per-user – all while ensuring better quality of experience and reducing subscriber churn.

As a result, millions of people and devices can be seamlessly connected – shaping a new, and bright future for broadband.


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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