How the Optic Fibre Network Boosts the Internet

by March 23, 2017 0 comments

 

Udit Mehrotra, CEO, Spectranet

For the Indian Telecom Industry, Optic Fibre has begun the much-needed wave of ‘The Third Age of Connectivity’. Before Optic Fibre was introduced, the Broadband segment was solely dependent on the copper wire. Broadband is defined as always ‘ON’ with specified download speed. And Broadband should be with good Quality of Experience. Lately, there has been a sudden surge by both the Government and Indian telecom operators to use Optic Fibre cables since the future lies here. Driving the Bharat Net project and the Digital India campaign, the Indian Government is advocating the benefits and need for an Optic Fibre era in the Indian Telecom sector. Telecom giants are also acknowledging the fact and themselves laying Optic Fibre ducts to enhance their services and meet the requirements with good quality of the growing Internet user base that India harbours.

How fibre optic cable speeds up the net

Countries in the emerged economies have deployed Optic Fibre much earlier. Not surprisingly, the difference is obvious in the data speeds of the fully-developed nations and India. When it comes to broadband bandwidth and speeds, India is far behind these nations. Indeed, Optic Fibre is the catalyst for change that needs to be inducted into the Indian economy if we wish to stand toe-to-toe with the rest of the fully-developed world.

Aptly termed the ‘Insulator’ for Broadband or Internet, Optic Fibre is capable of providing speeds up to several Gbps (Gigabit per second) and can support multiple devices at one go even to homes – a quality that is still a farfetched idea for Broadband run on older technologies like copper wire. Optic Fibre is designed for more bandwidth and higher speeds. The Optic Fibre cable comprises tens of strands of glass fibre, each no thicker than a human hair and capable of transmitting the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica contents in less than a second. Conversely, copper wire is based on the original telephone network that was upgraded to carry Internet signals and has very limited speed carrying capacity. In essence, Optic Fibre refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light pulses along a fibre made of glass. Since the speed of light is an astounding 300,000 Kms per second, Optic Fibre acts as an amazing medium of transmission. This feature finds wide usage in Optic Fibre communications, where it permits transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than copper wire cables.

Carrying more information than conventional copper wire, Optic Fibre is generally not subject to electromagnetic interference and the need to retransmit signals – a problem that afflicts metal wires excessively. Transmission over an Optic Fibre cable requires repeaters at specific distance intervals. Moreover, the glass fibre requires more protection with an outer cable than copper. Due to these reasons, and since the installation of any new cabling is labour intensive, only a few communities have installed Optic Fibre cables from the telecom company’s branch office to local customers (known as local loops).

Optic Fibre can be used as a medium for telecommunications and computer networking because it is flexible and can be bundled as cables and has a very small footprint. It is especially advantageous for long-distance communications because light propagates through the fibre with little attenuation or weakening compared to electrical cables. A type of fibre known as single mode fibre is used for longer distances while multimode fibre is used for shorter distances. Each fibre can carry many independent channels by using a different wavelength of light, termed wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM).  Once installed in users’ homes, Optic Fibre is a better investment in terms of money as well as in the scalability it provides through years of longevity and by meeting the ever increasing data speeds need.

Benefits over Copper

Decoding this equation into simpler terms, Optic Fibre is preferred over Copper Wire thanks to the following reasons:-

Scalability

Optical fibers have very large Potential capacity. Lit capacity, the amount of capacity that is installed actually running over the cable, is by installing transmission equipment based on the present needs and equipment with additional capacity added in step with the increasing demand.

High Speed

Optic Fibre can support Internet speeds up to several Gbps (thousands of Mbps) and the speed is the same for multiple users in the same area.

Multiple Users & Devices

Optic Fibre can support multiple devices simultaneously. Its USP is the speed doesn’t drop even when multiple devices are operating at the same time.

Broad Bandwidth

A single Optic Fibre can carry more than 3,000,000 full-duplex voice calls or 90,000 TV channels.

Immunity to Electromagnetic Interference

Light transmission via Optic Fibre is unaffected by other nearby electromagnetic radiation. Being electrically non-conductive, Optic Fibre does not act as an antenna to pick up electromagnetic signals. Information travelling inside the Optic Fibre is immune to electromagnetic interference.

Low Attenuation Loss over Long Distances

With the present technology of low attenuation loss in Optic Fibre cables, transmission is viable over long distances without the need for repeaters.

Electrical Insulator

Optic Fibres do not conduct electricity, preventing problems with ground loops and conduction of lightning. Optic Fibres can be strung on poles alongside high-voltage power cables.

Material Cost and Theft Prevention

Conventional cable systems use large amounts of copper. Global copper prices experienced a boom in the 2000s, and copper has been a target of metal theft ever since.

Security of Information

Unlike copper, Optic Fibre cannot be tapped without physical intrusion which is easily detectable.

Sensors

Fibres have multiple uses in remote sensing. In some applications, the sensor is itself an optic fibre. In other cases, fibre is used to connect a non-Optic Fibre sensor to a measurement system. As per the application, fibre may be used because of its small size, or the fact that no electrical power is needed at the remote location, or because many sensors can be multiplexed along the length of a fibre by using different wavelengths of light for each sensor, or by sensing the time delay as light passes along the fibre through each sensor. The time delay can be determined using a device such as an optical time-domain reflectometer.

Besides its abilities, Optic Fibre is a boon for businesses as well. The cliché ‘Time is money’ is apt for the Optic Fibre Network as it can prove to be an extremely valuable investment. Research proves that having fibre makes businesses more innovative. People cut down on travel time to meetings because good quality video conferencing is now accessible for even the smallest businesses. One can speak to colleagues and customers on their laptop as no fancy equipment is required. The consistent speeds provided by fibre allow many people in the office to access the Web at the same time. Available high speed can be effectively extended within the premises over Wifi for multiple users and devices. Faster, more reliable connections to Wi-Fi provides users convenience to use from anywhere in the premises. All this lends itself to better collaboration and ideas sharing.

Previously, smaller organisations believed fibre wouldn’t suit their businesses, as it is better equipped or suitable for more creative, technological or larger businesses. In today’s time, the belief seems unfounded as a majority of businesses are investing in fibre and the investment is resulting in increased efficiency and monetary savings. If India aims to achieve its ambitious agenda of having a digital economy, Optic Fibre is essential. For that to happen, both businesses and consumers need to connect over a common platform of Optic Fibre. Before usage, it is imperative to make people aware of what Optic Fibre has in store for them and how their lives can be transformed by using Optic Fibre.

Since Optic Fibre is the ‘present’ and the ‘future’, it is necessary to embrace this change as quickly as possible. Even though India struggles with providing faster internet connections to people, The ISP’s has definitely helped Indians get access to high speed internet highway network. Telcos have also been pushing for the introduction of optic fibre cables for data connectivity that has contributed to a higher average last quarter. However, the present speed still seems very slow when global average is at 7Mbps. Furthermore, when the Government of India wants to make the country at par with developed nations, then it must take stricter actions to help improve the adoption of the internet in India first.  To some extent, the success story of the Indian economy will depend upon this.

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