New Frontiers: Progress and Issues of Ultra-high Speed Fiber Optical Communications

Practel, Inc.
August 1, 2010
172 Pages - SKU: PT2763898
This issue of the report reflects dynamics of the high-speed optical transmission systems technologies and markets and provides up to date analysis of their benefits and issues; it continues the Practel project in the analysis of high-speed optical communications.

At the present time, the industry is witnessing the rising interest for high-speed communications; and the advent of 40 Gb/s pipes in carrier networks has finally arrived. 100 Gb/s systems wide commercialization is expected in a few years. Besides traditional applications, there are many new applications for such high-speed communications (for example establishing connections between peta-scale systems, or modernizing SAN systems).

2007 was the first year when sizable volume of 40 Gb/s units was shipped by the industry. The emergence of 40G POS interfaces for backbone routers lead to the popularity of WDM backbone transportation systems based on the single-channel 40G technology. Most mainstream operators in Europe, America, and Japan have begun planning or deploying long - haul backbone networks and backbone MANs. AT&T, NTT, TransTeleCom, Telefonica, and Verizon have already constructed 40 Gb/s networks and are offering commercial services. DT, Swisscom, and FT are planning theirs; and China Telecom is deploying its 40 Gb/s network connecting Shanghai to Wuxi.

2007-2008 also were years of field testing 100 Gb/s systems. For example, Verizon completed the first field test of 100 Gb/s optical transmission on a live, in-service 312-mile network route between Tampa, Fl. and Miami. In 2009, Verizon put in service the first 100 Gb/s link in France.

There are several factors in re-discovering attractiveness of such transmission; the most important from them are:

Constantly raising demand for data spectrum

Future economics
Increasing fiber plant utilization
Gradual maturity of standardization activity.

Among areas the most demanding for high-speed communications systems are Internet data and entertainment traffic, such as HD and SHD format signals that require significant bandwidth (measured in Gb/s) for each wired household.

Though the industry has not reached the level of fiber bandwidth exhaustion, there are regions with critical values (of 65%-70% of fiber plant utilization) and carriers are looking for alternatives to laying new fiber.

In 2010, the IEEE ratified the 802.3ba standard; this assured vendors and providers that high-speed communications is on track to wide commercialization. The ITU is making progress in extension of the ONT development (ODU4); OIF as well as other organizations are also actively working to develop standardized high-speed transmission.

Based on these factors, the authors of this report analyzed the development of the high-speed communications industry with the emphasis on:
  • Technologies specifics
  • PMD characteristics and methods for its compensation
  • Marketing trends
  • Vendors’ portfolios survey (sixty-five vendors)
  • Standardization activity.
The report addresses these and other related issues; it shows that 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s fiber optics communications is today reality; and, depending on the global economy conditions, these systems proliferation is expected in the 2012-2014 time frame

More Fiber Optics reports by Practel, Inc.

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