STL’s Data Surge Dream & the Challenges Ahead

STL’s Data Surge Dream & the Challenges Ahead


We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. What are the Hits & Misses When Using legacy ITU-T G.652.D Fibre?
  2. Using Legacy Fibre may Lead to Interrupted Services

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

Is Fibre the Facilitator as well as Limiter of Connectivity?

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??

What are the 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.


What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.

This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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STL’s Data Surge Dream & the Challenges Ahead

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