One of the chief advantages of optical fibre cables – over those made from copper – is that they are significantly smaller and lighter, so are easier to handle and install. Standard twisted-pair copper cables used for the old telephony trunk networks were enormously heavy, with typical cables measuring between 20 and 40mm in diameter and weighing almost half a tonne per kilometre. And that’s only a 100-pair cable; a 1,000-pair cable would frequently weigh more than three tonnes per kilometre.
Cost and compatibility can make a compelling case for pushing 100Gb/s bandwidth over a single optical channel, both as individual links and supporting 400Gb/s Ethernet, finds Andy Extance
Robin Mersh takes a look at how the industry is creating next-generation optical access fit for 5G
Technological advances to aid the increasing demand for bandwidth, on the path towards the terabit network, should lead to optical signals that are flexible and adaptive, like water, argues Dr Maxim Kuschnerov and Dr Yin Wang