Melting Arctic Ice Could Mean Faster Internet for Some

Have you ever wondered how an e-mail reaches your inbox from a co-worker in Europe? Or how a Facebook message gets to you from a cousin in Africa?

 

The answer lies beneath the ocean. More than 745,000 miles of submarine cables featuring optical fiber make up most of the actual physical internet. These cables wind between and around continents, carrying almost all of our global internet communication.

 

Recently, the huge amount of data sent between connected smart devices has begun clogging this network of submarine cables, just as interstate highways become jammed with traffic. One way to deal with this massive data growth is to increase the bandwidth capacity of the physical internet. Another way is to create more direct transmission paths between continents.

 

 

Taking It Direct

A new project in Finland hopes to use this second method. The plan is to install a new fiber optic cable route across the Arctic Ocean – the only large water body that is really untouched by submarine cables. While melting sea ice raises tremendous concerns for the health of our planet, it presents an entirely new opportunity to install digital links on a straight course between continents.

 

For data from Asia to reach Europe, it must travel over thousands of cable miles around Asia, up through the Suez Canal and across the Mediterranean Sea into continental Europe. And while this occurs faster than the blink of an eye (about 253 milliseconds), researchers say that data and communication could travel 30 percent faster over a shorter, more direct cable route through the Arctic.

 

 

Faster Connections Are Key

Banks and financial trading groups eagerly await faster connections. Traders depend on powerful, low latency networks to buy and sell securities where milliseconds can affect profit and loss. However, big data would also benefit. Today, internet-connected devices outnumber people on the Earth by an almost 3 to 1 margin. And experts predict that internet traffic between Europe and Asia will triple in the next five years.

 

 The Challenges

The deployment of this new cable would actually extend an existing cable route through Finland into Germany. And while a feasibility study by the Government of Finland calls the project a “win-win-win” for Europe, Russia and Asia, there are key areas of concern.

 

First, constructing this new cable route would cost nearly a billion Euros. Secondly, the icy Arctic terrain and harsh weather conditions would certainly present logistical challenges. And there are always issues involving security. However, a separate cable installation linking Tokyo and London by way of Alaska and Canada is already underway.

 

Our planet needs more almost supersonic connections. We can expect to see more efforts around the globe to reduce data “pile-ups” and speed the delivery of data and communication.

Make Way for High-Density Fiber Optic Cables

More fiber density in less space. From 5G to data centers to FTTx, the picture is clear. Everyone uses more bandwidth than ever before. And while bandwidth demand may seem endless, the space to install fiber optic cable isn’t. That’s why being able to install more optical fiber in the same or less space can be a game changer for today’s network operators. And it’s why “High Density” is also a critical word for many service providers today.

 

With microcables and rollable ribbon cables that increase fiber density while saving on space, OFS is your high-density fiber optic cable solutions provider.

 

Rolling In the Optical Fiber

Rollable Ribbon fiber optic cables are one of the most exciting outside plant (OSP) cabling technologies today. These cables feature rollable ribbons, the newest fiber ribbon design from OFS. This ribbon can be “rolled” (compacted) and routed like individual fibers, allowing the use of smaller closures and splice trays.

 

With up to 3,456 fibers, OFS AccuTube®+ Rollable Ribbon (RR) Cables help network operators double their fiber density in the same size duct or space. They also enable very efficient, cost-effective mass fusion splicing and easy individual fiber breakout. This ability helps simplify installation and save on labor costs. And by maximizing duct use, high-density AccuTube+ RR Cables are an excellent choice for connecting very large fiber distribution hubs. They are also very suitable for data centers, FTTx and access networks.

 

Taking Things Indoors……

With the award-winning AccuRiser RR and AccuFlex® RR Cables, network operators can bring the benefits of rollable ribbon cables indoors. The innovative indoor/outdoor AccuRiser RR Cable helps ease cable installation over ladder racking and through tight bends during routing. This high-density cable is excellent for use in data centers or central offices. It’s also a great choice for building-to-building cable connections along with routing for terminations and frames, and preconnectorized applications.

 

The strong yet flexible, plenum-rated AccuFlex RR Cable helps prevent installation problems such as packing density, routing and deployment speed. This cable’s flame rating meets NFPA 262, allowing the cable to be installed into air-handling spaces. The AccuFlex RR Cable is an outstanding solution for data centers, central offices and head ends.

 

With Limited Space, Go Small (and Dense)

To help solve the problem of deploying or upgrading crowded FTTx or underground networks, OFS created the high-density MiDia®Microcable family. Optimized for exceptional air-blown installation, MiDia microcables can help lower installation costs while increasing fiber optic density and capacity in limited spaces. The MiDia Cable portfolio includes MiDia Micro FX CableMiDia Micro GX Cable and MiDia200 Micro FX Cable.

 

And for network operators who prefer ribbon cables and the benefits of mass fusion splicing, OFS offers the AccuRibbon® DuctSaver® FX Cable. This cable makes optimal use of valuable duct space. It also maximizes the key advantages of air-blown microduct installation: rapid deployment and service turn-up.

 

To learn more about high-density fiber optic cables, visit our website or contact OFS at 1-800-fiberhelp.

 

 

 

Rural Broadband Projects to Receive $97 Million Investment from USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $95 million to improve or expand access to broadband internet in the rural U.S. The 12 projects involved will include converting exchanges from copper to optical fiber and also building a fiber-to-the-home network to meet future demand.

 

These projects will expand access to educational, social and business opportunities for rural subscribers in 11 states by connecting businesses to customers, farmers to markets and students to a world of knowledge.

 

Location Should Not Determine Access

According to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, “A person’s location should not determine whether he or she has access to modern communications infrastructure. That is why the USDA is partnering with businesses and communities by investing in state-of-the-art broadband e-connectivity to remote and rural areas.”

 

The USDA is making the investments through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Community Connect Grant Program.

 

Examples of the Investments

  • Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, Inc. in Cameron, Wisconsin, will receive a $21.4 million loan to improve outside plant facilities in four of its six exchanges. It will construct 675 miles of fiber-to-the-premises and install associated electronics. It plans to build a fiber-to-the-home network capable of sustaining customer demands in broadband connectivity for the foreseeable future.
  • Osage Innovative Solutions, LLC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will receive a $2.7 million grant to construct a hybrid fiber-to-the-premises and fixed wireless system in an unserved and economically depressed portion of the Osage Nation in Osage County. The company will offer speeds up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload. This project will give customers access to high-quality telecommunications to improve economic, education and health care opportunities. Osage will provide a community center where residents can access the internet free of charge.
  • The Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company, in Green City, Missouri, is receiving a $13.7 million loan to convert six exchanges from copper plant to optical fiber to the premises. It will construct nearly 500 route miles of optical fiber.

 

These investments will help to improve the quality of life in rural Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

 

Invisibility Cloaking Could Help to Secure Data Sent Over Optical Fiber

Shades of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak! A recent study in Optica describes a new way to achieve cloaking invisibility. In this method, researchers manipulated the frequency (color) of light waves passing through an object. This approach overcomes critical shortcomings in existing cloaking technologies. The research team says that this technique could help to secure data sent over optical fiber. It could also improve current technologies for sensing, telecommunications and information processing.

 

Most current cloaking devices can only conceal an object when it is illuminated with just one color of light. However, sunlight and most other light sources are broadband (i.e., they contain many colors). Also, typical cloaking solutions work by changing the dispersion path of the light around the object to be concealed.

 

The new solution avoids these problems by allowing light waves to pass through the object, rather than around it, while still avoiding any interaction between the light waves and the object.

 

To achieve this, the researchers rearranged different colors of broadband light so that the light waves passed through the object without actually “seeing” it. For example, if the object reflected green light, they would then change light in the green portion of the spectrum to another color. In this way, there would be no green light for the object to reflect. Then, once the light wave cleared the object, the cloaking device reversed the shift, returning the wave to its original state.

 

This spectral cloaking device could be useful in working with current telecommunication networks. These systems use broadband waves as data signals to transmit information over optical fiber. Spectral cloaking could selectively determine which operations are applied to a light wave and which are “made invisible” over certain periods of time. Service providers could use this capability to prevent eavesdroppers from gathering information by probing a fiber optic network with broadband light.

 

Also, providers could transmit more data over a given line by selectively removing and then reinstating colors that are used as telecommunication data signals. This capability could help to reduce “logjams” as data demands continue to explode.

 

To learn more, go HERE and HERE.

Fiber Optic Cables as Undersea Seismic Monitors?

Detecting ocean-floor seismic activity is crucial to our understanding of the interior structure and dynamic behavior of the Earth. However, with 70% of the planet’s surface covered by water and only a handful of permanent, ocean-bottom seismometer stations, very little overall seismic activity is actually recorded.

 

Now, a group of researchers from the United Kingdom, Italy and Malta have found a way to use submarine fiber optic cables already deployed on the ocean floor as seismic detectors. In a paper published in the journal Science, the research group outlines how they discovered this capability and how it would operate.

 

Giuseppe Marra, a member of the group, was testing an underground fiber cable between two locations in the United Kingdom. Noticing a small slowdown in signal delivery, he traced it to tiny vibrations bending the light. He then determined that the vibrations were caused by a remote earthquake. This discovery inspired him to explore using fiber optic cables as seismic detectors.

 

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Double the Density by “Rolling in the Fiber”

OFS now offers users more ways to double their optical fiber density by expanding the AccuTube®+ Rollable Ribbon Cable product family. These new cables with 432, 576 and 864 fibers feature rollable ribbons, the newest fiber optic ribbon design from OFS. These cables are available in 100% gel-free, all-dielectric single jacket and light armor constructions.

 

Rollable ribbon fiber optic cables are one of the most exciting developments in outside plant (OSP) cabling in years. These cables can help users gain substantial time and cost savings with mass fusion splicing. And they also double the fiber density in a given size duct compared to traditional flat ribbon cable designs.

 

Each OFS rollable ribbon features 12 individual 250 µm optical fibers that are partially bonded to each other at predetermined points. These ribbons can be “rolled” into a flexible and compact bundle that offers the added benefit of improved fiber routing and handling in closure preparation.

 

This completely gel-free cable design also helps to reduce the time needed for splicing preparation by up to 80%. In addition, these rollable ribbon cables are smaller and weigh at least 35% less than conventional flat ribbon cables. This reduced weight improves cable handling and also helps to relieve the tension placed on installation poles.

 

The AccuTube+ Rollable Ribbon Cable product portfolio also features cables with 1728 fibers in both single jacket and light armor designs and 3456 fibers in a single jacket construction. All of these cables meet or exceed the requirements of Telcordia GR-20 issue 4.

 

With its ability to maximize duct utilization, the AccuTube+ Rollable Ribbon Cable is an excellent choice for connecting data centers, and serving as distribution for dense FTTx or mobile networks. To learn more about these cables, go here and here.

 

 

Catch the Wave with TeraWave® SCUBA 125 Ocean Optical Fiber

OFS expanded its ocean product portfolio by introducing the new TeraWave SCUBA 125 Optical Fiber at the OFC Conference in San Diego, California, held March 12-15.

This latest submarine fiber from OFS is optimally designed to deliver excellent performance for coherent transport submarine systems. The effective area of TeraWave SCUBA 125 Fiber is matched to terrestrial G.654.E fibers for reliable performance from the ocean landing site to terrestrial networks. In addition, this fiber offers outstanding cabling performance in the C- and L-bands along with world-class attenuation.

The effective area of 125 square-microns reduces non-linearities, enabling the launch of higher signal power when compared to G.652 fibers as well as most G.654.B fibers, while the ultra-low attenuation of ≤ 0.158 dB/km (average) reduces signal noise. Together, these capabilities enable the launch of higher signal power into the span and lower amplifier noise. This, in turn, allows higher transmission speeds with more wavelengths over trans-Atlantic distances than ultra-low-loss G.652 fibers. (more…)

Searching Deep Space via Optical Fiber

For the first time, researchers have shown that a stable frequency reference can be reliably transmitted for more than 300 kilometers over a standard fiber optic telecommunications network in order to synchronize two radio telescopes.

In The Optical Society of America’s Optica journal, researchers from a consortium of Australian institutions recently reported this successful transmission between two radio telescopes using an optical fiber link. They also demonstrated that the technique’s performance was superior to using an atomic clock at each telescope.

Stable frequency references, used to calibrate clocks and instruments that make ultra-precise measurements, are usually only available at facilities that use expensive atomic clocks to generate the references. This new technology could help scientists anywhere to access the frequency standard by simply tapping into the telecommunications network.

This new technique required no substantial changes to the rest of the fiber optic network and was easy to implement. Most impressively, the demonstration was performed over a fiber optic network that was transmitting live telecommunications traffic at the same time. By running the experiment on optical fibers carrying normal traffic, the researchers showed that transmitting the stable frequency standard did not affect the data or telephone calls on other channels. (more…)

Not Seeing is Believing

OFS introduced the latest addition to its InvisiLight® Solutions family at the Fiber Connect Conference recently held in Orlando, FL.

Specifically designed for fiber-to-the-subscriber (FTTx) deployment to low-rise buildings or garden-style dwelling units, the InvisiLight Facade Solution uses an innovative and virtually invisible approach to place fiber on and into buildings.

In this way, the new solution solves the old consumer “pain point” of visible cabling or raceways on the exterior of buildings.

To learn more about the InvisiLight Façade Solution, go HERE.

Redefining the Limits of Optical Fiber

The adoption of mobile devices, data-intensive applications and 4G LTE networks are just few of the key factors driving the ever-increasing demand for greater network and Internet bandwidth.

In fact, a recent article in Optical Connections Magazine maintains that fundamental physics could pose a threat to the Internet’s continued expansion.

However, according to Robert Lingle of OFS, new fiber designs such as multi-core, few-mode and hollow core fibers could be          capable of extending the limit.

To learn more, go HERE.