Despite disruptive technological changes in the past decade, fibre-optic technology has endured and matured into the backbone and key transmitter for global telecommunications. The explosive growth in demand for broadband transmission capacity is mostly due to the Internet and wireless communication’s rapid penetration in modern society.
People and businesses have become super connected and are increasingly dependent on digital data and online communication ranging from email, online shopping and streaming videos to Cloud-based computing and business analysis based on ‘Big Data’. Consequently, the lives of billions of people are dependent on fast broadband connectivity.
Telecommunications providers have been switching to data transmission over fibre-optic cables and consequently, they have become the indispensable backbone of hybrid communication networks of fixed-line, mobile infrastructure, and data centres. Additionally, because of the exceeding performance of optical fibre for broadband services, twisted-copper networks of fixed-line networks are being replaced by fibre-optic cables.
In mobile telephony and data traffic, radio signals transport voice and data to and from portable transceivers consisting of a network of ‘cells’ that are served by a fixed-location transceiver. These fixed access points and base stations are connected to a fixed-line cable network. Fibre optic cables are currently the preferred choice to serve as a backhaul or intermediate link between the core network, and the small subnetworks or cells at the edge of the network.
Fibre-optic technology is superior to any other cable-based alternatives
Operators are thus using optical fibre to connect mobile base stations, although many mobile base stations still depend on ‘old’ technology which needs to be replaced and when a new connection is required, optical fibre is installed because of its superior transmission speed, and its potential to expand transmission speed supporting 5G.
Experts say that future access networks will include fibre as an essential part of the network infrastructure as wireless and wireline technologies converge and the dividing lines become less clear. This is evident as Markus Laqua, a German telecommunications industry expert says: ‘a deep fibre network is essential for all future access technologies’.