A Glimpse of The Future for Fiber Optics
Fiber optic technology plays a major part in many businesses today, as most demand a faster, more secure, and larger communication system for their network operations. In the next few years, an increasing number of industries will be looking for new innovative solutions offered by fiber optics, including opportunities in the healthcare and maritime industry. A market analysis study by Research and Market predicted that the fiber optic market will grow at a rate of 8.5% in the next few years, reaching approximately $7.25 billion by 2025. But how exactly will this growth look like for fiber optics?
Predicting what the future holds is challenging, and even more so for technology. In this article, we will discuss the opportunities of fiber optics in the near future.
New Projects with Fiber Optics
New fiber initiatives happen all the time. According to Forbes, many cities around the world are starting to consider using fiber optic cables for their communication networks. They reported that San Francisco has pledged to connect a city-wide fiber optic network, making it the first major city in America to commit to such a project. Upon its successful completion, this project will be “a huge step towards internet utopia” as Wired news called it. Meanwhile, another network provider has planned to run 8,000 miles of submarine underwater fiber optic cable from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, in order to support increased demand for Facebook and Google. The investment may be considerable, but the returns will be as well, with an astounding capacity of 144 TB.
Additionally, the roll out and expansion of 5G wireless network is made possible by fiber optics. Telecom leaders are relying on millions of miles of new fiber optic cables which allow 5G devices across the globe to connect with one another. In the future, it is possible to see new fiber initiatives in more diverse and efficient applications.
New Nations to be Connected
The internet has transformed technology in many nations around the world, but some remain relatively untouched by its power. However, this is about the change for good thanks to a new Facebook initiative called Simba, an underwater data cable that would encircle the entire continent of Africa. This cable will, ideally, offer access to new markets of users while also minimizing bandwidth costs. Similarly, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. is looking into the possibility of building a cable system along Africa’s west coast, providing a valuable link to existing European and Asian data centers.
New Trends in Speed & Efficacy
Fiber optic technology continues to develop alongside the increased demand for greater speed and efficiency. New devices, such as optical couplers and optical switches, are supporting a recent trend known as All-Optical Networks or AON. This new technology allows data to be transmitted quickly without any electrical processing, which will result in further transmission distances.
Another recent improvement is ROF or Radio-over-Fiber, which allows for the transmission of radio signals using optical fibers. The radio frequencies are not impacted by electromagnetic interference, which has huge potential for development in the aviation industry as well as public work projects, stadium construction, and commercial building construction.
Challenges with Fiber
There are some harsh realities and challenges that fiber technology has to be able to manage going forward. For one, laying the fiber cable requires a complex trenching and building process which can be very costly. Another problem is logistic challenges. If we want to connect New York to San Francisco through fiber, we will first need to create a long-haul dark fiber network. However, we can’t simply stretch a fiber cable straight from one point to another. About every 40 to 60 miles, the connection needs to be re-amplified using an ILA (In-Line Amplification) Shelter, which can be costly to develop and maintain. This issue is one of the main reasons why fiber optic is not widespread at the moment.
Fiber optics has been used very widely today by many industries, and the future is certainly bright going forward. As these networks continue to expand and user load continues to increase, the development of standardized fiber testing practices becomes increasingly important. As the leader in fiber testing, VIAVI Solutions offers the industry’s most complete range of fiber test solutions. VIAVI’s umbrella of interactive tools, testing capabilities, and solutions will help you to thrive, no matter which industry or region you’re working within.