• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

How Mobile Drives Optical Fiber Needs


Seventeen percent of global Web usage is accounted for by mobile traffic, said Martin Birk of AT&T Labs, Res. This trend is growing everywhere in the world, and its growing fast.
"Last year it was much less," Birk said. On Sunday he presented to a packed room the short course #SC203, "100Gb/s and Beyond Transmission Systems, Design and Design Trade-offs" with Benny Mikkelsen of Acacia Communications.
What does high-capacity fiber transmission have to do with the demand for wireless data? Everything, Birk explained. Mobile is likely to be the driver of growth in this field for some time to come. That's because data and voice sent to your smart phone from a cell tower is only in the air for a short time - the last kilometer or so. The rest of the way, it is sent over short or long haul transport networks the same as any other data.
Urban centers are where the demand for this data is growing the fastest, especially for video content, and urban mobile customers demand access to data that is always on, Birk said. And in the future, customers will want ever-higher speed for lower and lower cost.
As the demand for wireless data grows, so too does the need for massive data centers and lots of fibers operating at 100Gb/s or beyond. Birk discussed how many of these data centers are located in places like Washington state, where abundant hydroelectric projects make the energy necessary to run the centers cheap and abundantly available.
Accessing that data will increasingly push ever higher transmission rates, which will require advanced modulation formats. Interoperability is a trend he predicted will continue to grow, with multisource transmission coming from multiple companies becoming more of a reality. For this to happen, multiple types of equipment will need to "plug and play" on multiple platforms - without requiring a physicist to make it work, he said.
In the short course, he spoke about infrastructure, contrasting internal networks, such as those connecting Google's massive data centers, with the nationwide ISP network of Level 3. He also showed an example from high-speed stock trading, where the unusual requirement of having every sub-second count has required data centers to be co-located in the cities such as New York where the trading is done.
Finally Birk discussed the prohibitive cost of installing infrastructure, which may force companies to incorporate older fiber into transmission routes.
"It is what it is, basically," he said, referring to this infrastructure.

Posted: 23 March 2015 by OFC | with 0 comments

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