What the future holds for Fibre Optic Technology

With current global trends of employees sheltering and working from home, businesses require communication systems that are faster, more secure, and have larger capacity for their networks to operate at efficient levels. Ranging from healthcare systems to the marine environment, fibre optic technology is a crucial component of commercial and industrial infrastructures. Telecoms and data industry leaders, and home owners alike are expecting high-speed Internet access and are turning to fibre optic technology as a reliable option for these expected services. 

Fibre optic technology is thus predicted to play a major role in this anticipated bandwidth demand and growth. Fior Markets reports: “The global Fiber Optics Cable market size is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025, with a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025 and is expected to reach USD 6504.2 million by 2025, from USD 5139.1 million in 2019”.

The increasing use of the Internet and demand for fibre to the X (FTTX), fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre in the loop and the switching over to bandwidth-intensive, high-speed, high-data rate applications are forces driving the fibre optics market. 

Developments in fibre optic technology

Optic fibres are flexible and transparent and consist of extruded glass (silica) or plastic which can function as a waveguide, or ‘light pipe’ transmitting data as light impulses between the ends of the fibre. Fibre optic cables thus consist of either one or many thin strands of glass protected by a flexible, transparent sheath. The result is boundless performance capabilities evident in a National Geographic Magazine report that “the latest transatlantic cable is rated at 2.4 terabits. In one second, that cable can transmit a hundred hours of digital video or 30 million phone calls across the Atlantic” (Alan, 2020).

Fibre optic cable assemblies are widely applied, and their uses form the backbone of, for example, military networking, medical imaging and laser practices, and private and public networking for cable and Internet.

Since fibre cables are very secure and do not have an electromagnetic field, data cannot be intercepted, slowed, or jumbled with other signals. Although the safety, speed, and security of fibre optics are more expensive, compared to the rising costs of copper, it remains competitively priced in the marketplace. This is because metallic wiring is naturally thicker, load capacity is reduced, and installation is more difficult in challenging environments. 

New Projects

Smart cities are fast becoming a reality and will be the product of the ongoing and gradual evolution of information technologies, including the use of  fibre optic cables. Forbes reports that San Francisco is creating a city-wide fibre optic network to enable the Internet as a public utility.

Additionally, new 5G wireless technology is facilitated with fibre optic cables. Wired Magazine indicates that telecom leaders depend on millions of miles of new cables, allowing the deployment of 5G devices across the globe to create an expanding networked society. 

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Speed and Efficiency

Due to the demand for greater speed and efficiency, fibre optic technology itself is developing. For example, optical couplers and switches back a new communication trend called all-optical networks (AON). This technology allows data to be transmitted without any electrical processing, which in turn can result in greater transmission distances.

WDM, or wavelength division multiplexing is another recent improvement in fibre cables involving a process that increases bandwidth capacity even further by allowing different carriers to transmit optical signals.

Additionally, orbital angular momentum (OAM) technology twists light waves in a spiral and thus increases their ability to transmit information in a highly scalable manner and could increase transmission speeds by 100 times over the next few years.

Another advancement is called radio over fibre (ROF) which is a system that allows the transmission of radio frequencies using optical fibres. Wire Tech World indicates that this new development has potential for development in the aviation industry as well as in public works projects, stadium construction, and commercial building construction.

Increased demands for technology

Users are consuming more social media, streaming video, networked gaming, and other services that rely on fast Internet. These user behaviour patterns demand the rapid improvement of fibre optic technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) is also stimulating rapid development since, for example, temperature sensors used in wearable devices and smartphones use fibre optic technology. It is also predicted that the demand for fast Internet in healthcare equipment, energy companies, and the automotive industry will increase. 

With the future-proof features of fibre optic technology like durability and scalability and telecom giants transitioning from copper coaxial cable to hybrid or fully fibre optic cable assemblies, it is more than likely that the future of fibre optics may outlast next generation devices and commercial and industrial needs.


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