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Point-to-Point Coherent Optics

A big part of working in today’s telecommunications industry is continually learning. The pace of technology is staggering. Seems every other week there’s a new development that claims it will fix all our woes and is the next “Big” thing. Of course, being able to navigate the influx of information is key.

Sometimes it doesn’t take a new technology to make a huge impact. But rather thinking about applying a technology in a different way can be a game changer.  Simply asking the questions, “Why can’t we do that?”. Which leads to one of those forehead slapping moments, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Point-to-Point Coherent Optics is kind of like that. P2P Coherent Optics have been used for long-haul networks for years. Equipment and devices used for long-haul are expensive and not cost-effective for increasing capacity at shorter distances.

But that is changing with CableLabs release of two new specifications:

  • P2P Coherent Optics Architecture Specification

  • P2P Coherent Optics Physical Layer 1.0 Specification

More Capacity, More Speed

A chant that never ends. More capacity, more speed. The industry and many CSP (Communication Service Providers) are moving towards a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) which is a shift from the traditional analog fiber network to a digital fiber transport. More remote devices are being pushed into the field and replacing the single fiber node.

These two factors will allow CSPs to increase capacity more cost-effectively. They can more away for the traditional node splitting.

Today CSPs are deploying DAA and Remote devices with DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing). There are limits to the amount of wavelengths for a single fiber and limited fiber in a network can place constraints on the capacity.

Coherent Optics

Coherent Optics packs multiple bits into a “symbol”. The manipulation of amplitude, phase, and polarization of light enables the transmission of bits of data into a symbol. The new capacity is 10 fold! Instead of each wavelength carrying 10 Gbps, coherent optics can transmit 100 Gbps on each wavelength. Forty (40) channel Mux/Demux networks instead of delivering 400 Gpbs (10 Gbps per channel) can now deliver 4 Terabits per second.

This will open up the network to new opportunities with more capacity and speed. Not only for the residential customer but also for the business / enterprise class of customer. Not to mention the ability to support next-generation services.

“Through the use of Coherent Optics technology – and devices built to be compliant with the CableLabs Point-to-Point Coherent Optics Specifications – cable operators now have a means of cost-effectively meeting ever-expanding consumer demand over their existing fiber access networks, and one which also provides the opportunity to provide new services like 5G small cell backhaul and enhanced business services.” 
- Matt Schmitt, CableLabs

With strategic planning, CSPs and their networks are well positioned for the coming challenges. Sometimes you just have to apply different thinking.

By Doug McCluskey, PTech, Network & Broadband Specialist Missing Link Technologies Ltd.

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