Fibre: A Network Backbone for Future ICT

By Dr. Shilpa Jindal, Assistant Professor ECE Department, CCET

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The optical fibre is going to play a huge role in future Information and Communication Technology. Today, the phone lines or cable cannot offer the speeds that we need to remain competitive in the digital economy, so there is a need to shift from copper-based cables to an optical fibre to the last mile. To send songs, pictures and videos making cheap calls to friends relatives irrespective of the distance involved, playing online games with friends, watching online videos there is a need to have faster way of communication media with low latency and attenuation. Comparing communication networks based on DSL, satellite-based networks and mobile networks fibre networks are edge ahead in terms of speed, cost, maintenance and quality.

For entertainment too, there is a paradigm shift of watching TV to watching episodes and web series online. It is expected that many users will shift to internet from TV that telecasts program on fixed schedule basis and slowly TV will become a thing of past.
Further, there is a paradigm shift for working too, people preferring working from home over 8 hr fixed office jobs and earns good due to higher speed available online.
Even remote medical services are possible due to high-speed networks.

Further home automation involves internet of things (IOT) is possible if we have backbone network such that can cope with the growing demands of the society.

Life in urban areas has taken a leap be it booking a ride in city through Uber, OLA apps etc., ordering food 24*7 through apps like Zomato, Swiggy, Uber eats and many other, shopping online, making digital payments through Paytm, mobivik and others.

So now the things are getting flexible as per user requirement. The concept of anytime anywhere is taking its final shape.

Earlier Networks Future Networks
Fixed Schedule model Any time anywhere model

 

This all is possible due to broadband connection and the backbone of which is fibre. The optical Fibre itself has many advantages like lightweight, resistant to electromagnetic interference.

Use of Optical fibre as communication media is governed by Optical Moore’s Law. That says that the capacity-distance product (C x D) will increase tenfold every four years for the past three decades, due to technological innovations. This capacity-distance product is governed by the total usable spectrum in a fibre, the transmission rate of an optical signal, the number of simultaneous channels that can be transmitted and the transmission distance.

As the consumer demand for high quality, multimedia-rich services increasing, network operators are deploying fibre networks that go all the way to premises so as to increase the bandwidth and satisfy the growing need for upstream and downstream data. These fibre networks provide very high capacity. Estimates of bandwidth demand and supply indicate that FTTH access network capacity is unlikely to be a constraint in the next 20 years.

Choice of fibre networks implementation is based on the practicalities of deployment, architectural choices, performance constraints of networking equipment and applications. The Last mile networks that use fibre i.e. FFTH (Fibre to the Home) technologies work on following architecture:

  1. GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network): GPON deployments are currently being deployed to support 5G speeds over long distances.
  2. WDM-PON (Wavelength Division Multiplexing – Passive Optical Network)
  3. PTP (Point to Point)

Further performance of any fibre network depends on type of multiplexing, amplification, coding, modulation and detection technologies employed.

Due to high demand both for upstream and downstream; the growth of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks has driven IPTV (downstream), streaming video, video on demand and social networking and user-generated content Web sites (upstream). IPTV requires higher downstream bandwidths for high-definition TV. The increase in user-generated content services has created demand for greater upstream bandwidth. Meeting demand for bandwidth is increasingly challenging over traditional, asymmetrical copper access networks. And the solution is to move from asymmetric to symmetrical access that can be achieved if we employ fibre networks.

Regardless of the wireless technology employed, fibre will be the supporting infrastructure for 5G networks. Requirements for 5G heavily rely upon the interconnected backbone. Intensive 5G fibre-optic backhaul is necessary to seamlessly stream bandwidth-intensive applications.

The benefit of low cost and reliable high-speed communication till 100-Gbit/sec have made fibre optics a default option for many network operators and is considered as future communication media that is in sync with present and future demands of the society.


 

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