Shoot for the Stars: STL’s Data Consumption Dream & the Challenges Ahead

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As per Cisco VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast (2017-2022), annual global IP traffic is slated to increase to 4.8ZB by 2022. That’s 2.5x increase in monthly data consumption from today.

In our previous blog:, we discussed about the enablers to meet this increased bandwidth demand. And as it is, fibre is one of the most important and default enablers to meet this demand.

But if there is anything that can limit our dream of 4.8ZB annual data consumption, it is also Fibre. Confused much??

Hits & misses when using legacy ITU-T G.652.D fibre:

Let’s simplify; the fibre that we are using today for long-haul, metro or access network configuration or whether it be for any application, FTTx or 5G; it is mostly ITU-T G.652.D compliant. ITU-T G.652.D fibre accounts for almost ~70-80% of the total global single mode fibre demand.

G.652.D Network

Now as fibre enters new cities and geographies to meet this increased bandwidth demand originating from all pockets of the world, the optical power budget of the network goes for a toss. G.652.D fibre is less resilient to bends and at tight bends & turns scenarios, it’s macro bend loss increases leading to substantial packet loss. This in return leads to a substandard user experience as displayed in the picture.

The typical Macro bend loss figure for a G.652.D fibre on making a full 360 degree turn over a 7.5mm mandrel at 1550nm wavelength is nearly 4dB.

Macro bend loss

In addition, we know that technologies of tomorrow, 10G-PON and 40G-PON for FTTx applications are pushing spectrum utilisation to the far end, in the range of 1580-1620nm. Now, G.652.D fibre doesn’t really function well at higher wavelengths. A 113nm wavelength increase when technology migrates from G-PON downstream to 40G-PON leads to 4x increase in Macro Bend Loss. The table here gives an idea of the impact that increasing wavelengths have on Macro Bend Loss.

ITU-T G.652.D compliant fibre

Using legacy fibre may lead to interrupted services:
ITU-T G.652.D compliant fibre when subjected to tight bend and higher wavelengths scenarios, cannot match the network & user needs of tomorrow. More often than not, it will lead to disrupted services and sub-optimal user experience.

So, how do we make it happen? How do we meet the increased bandwidth demand? How do we enable 5ZB annual data consumption? The only way, if there is any change in the choice of fibre type that you can do, is to use ITU-T G.657.A2 Bend Insensitive Fibre. More on this in our next blog.

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