In the wake of Google Access CEO Craig Barratt’s ‘Goodbye Access’ post on the Google Fiber blog, there are pundits left, right and centre predicting the end of Google Fiber. Barratt’s post tries to sound upbeat, but in essence he’s announcing that Google Fiber won’t be expanding further (pending a strategic re-evaluation), that people will be made redundant, and that he’s leaving. I don’t know Craig and can’t really comment on his tenure as Access CEO, but that doesn’t exactly sound like good news.
Often attention is focused on the penetration of fibre closer to the subscriber; however, it is important to not lose sight of how the global demand for data-rich applications also impacts further upstream in the long-haul section of the network. Links between cities must support the ever-increasing volume of data traffic to ensure that transmission bottlenecks do not occur.
Increases in per-channel data rates up to 400G are grabbing headlines and fibre makers must continue to innovate to allow such speeds to be installed efficiently.
Metro, regional, long-haul, metro-access, metro-aggregation, metro-core, ultra-long-haul, data centre interconnect… whatever these terms mean to you, I can almost guarantee that we would disagree somewhere in our views of exactly what these terms mean and where specifically these products are used in optical networks. Our expectations of exactly what distances these systems would cover and the functionality that each should have would probably also vary considerably.
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