A market that originated in 2007 in the esoteric arena of HPC data centres, the active optical cables sector has grown at such a pace that today it is predicted to be worth more than $1 billion by 2018.
The single-box P-OTS originated as a way to help operators transition their networks from synchronous SONET/SDH traffic to asynchronous packet flows. It included SONET/SDH and packet switching, with optical transport an option (see box: A Brief History of P-OTS below).
Now SONET/SDH is declining whereas packet and optical continue to evolve, while operators want optimisation across the networking layers and be able to mix and match platforms controlled using software-defined networking (SDN). Little wonder, then, that the definition of P-OTS is becoming blurred.
Anritsu was founded in 1895, the year in which Marconi successfully demonstrated the world’s first wireless telegraph, as a company providing electronic components for the communications industry. Since those early days, the development of Anritsu has traced the emergence of modern communications, and its history has run concurrently with the evolution of information and communication networks.
Network owners have much to consider when designing access networks. The network has to be able to support high-data rates and to maximise coverage area from the central office. Ideally, it should take advantage of low cost installation techniques and hardware miniaturisation. Once deployed, the network may have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years so upgrades to higher data rates must be supported. Finally, but not least, backwards compatibility is essential to ensure that new installations can be connected to equipment that has been already installed.
With the recent growth in smartphone and tablet users, alongside the development of hundreds of thousands of applications, consumers around the globe are using and expecting availability and access to more and more mobile data. According to a 2013 Cisco report, by the end of 2014 the number of mobile connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2018 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. Global mobile data volumes have nearly doubled every year, showing that now is the time for a 4G infrastructure to be put into place.
CableLabs is spearheading efforts to develop a proposal that uses coherent optics to dramatically boost the capacity of hybrid fibre coaxial networks, reports Andy Extance
Systems vendors are using intelligent software to squeeze more performance from optical networks. Pauline Rigby reports on developments at OFC 2017