The Optical Networking and Communication
Conference & Exhibition

Moscone Center,
San Francisco, California, USA

Will Multiband, Multidimensional, SDM Effectively Address the Need for Increased Network Capacity?


Antonio Napoli, Infinera Corp., Germany
Taji Sakamoto, NTT, Japan
Yikai Su, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Japan


Capacity demand is rapidly heterogeneously growing in all telecommunication sectors. This is commonly addressed by deploying multiple commercial C-band (conventional SDM) and C+L-band (multi-band) systems. The two approaches can coexist and leverage wavelength, polarization and space.

For now, these solutions can do the work: there are enough fibers, and the techniques to deploy them are becoming less expensive. Furthermore, the maturity of the entire ecosystem is very high.
Current forecasts see a continuous capacity growth in almost every application space, with a clear path towards Pb/s optical networks. In this context, more advanced SDM techniques have been proposed. All these solutions contribute to the linear part of the Shannon equation, but they are not commercial yet.

Among them, we recall multi-core/-mode fibers and transmission beyond C+L. Multi-core/-mode SDM transmission has been on the spotlight over the past decade. Extensive research efforts have been carried out, showing the great potential of this approach to scale the capacity of optical systems. Standardization activities recently started on the fibers and components. Deployed testbeds for SDM transmission are becoming available. Nevertheless, there is not yet a clear business case to justify the development of the required ecosystem and subsequent commercialization. Similar conclusions are valid for transmission beyond C+L. Last, several practical aspects must be addressed, e.g., splicing, core identification, fan-in/fan-out, performance variability, and cabling. 

This workshop aims at reaching consensus on the initial applications – e.g., requirements of submarine systems versus data centers are different – that might lead to the deployment of Petabit optical networks. Furthermore, we aim at analyzing when / where all techniques will be needed, and we will debate about:

  • Until when will conventional SDM be sufficient in terms of transmission and switching capacities? How much can C+L extend his lifetime? 
  • What are the drivers for ultra-high-capacity multiplexing beyond Petabit optical networks?
  • What are the effective technical approaches to ultra-high-capacity multiplexing? In what physical dimensions?  
  • What are the enabling devices and challenges? What are the roadmaps and where are we?  
  • When will industry likely to adopt these novel solutions? Which is the killing app that will kick-off the enhanced SDM or wideband solutions?
  • What is the gap between current maturity and commercialization? What is the technology or innovation that can help to bridge the gap?

A final summary, with pros and cons, will be the main outcome of the workshop.

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