Cable industry consortium CableLabs has introduced the Point-to-Point Coherent Optics specification, which it says will increase fiber capacity by a factor of ten. Coherent optics uses amplitude, phase and polarization to dramatically increase capacity. CableLabs says that the new specification can be used to push access network capacity to 100 gigabits of data per wavelength.
“CableLabs Point-to-Point Coherent Optics takes the existing fiber access network to hyper speed, boosting fiber capacity to meet the growing demand of broadband customers,” Phil McKinney, the president and chief executive officer of CableLabs, said in a press release. “Over half a billion people rely on CableLabs technology every day, and this breakthrough not only increases the capacity of the existing fiber system by an order of magnitude, it opens up wavelength resources to improve network quality and reliability, enabling advancements in cellular and wireless services.”
The introduction of Point-to-Point Coherent Optics complements CableLabs’ Full Duplex DOCSIS specification, which was introduced last year. That specification allows the same amount of data to simultaneously be transmitted in the upstream and downstream directions.
The cable, wireless and telecom industry are in a constant battle to provide the best broadband experience possible, and all have unique challenges. These challenges stem from legacy networks. For telcos, it’s the copper plant that has distance limitations for delivering high bandwidth services. The wireless industry has to work through the difficulties of operating at higher frequency rangers that largely will be relied upon for 5G operations.
For the cable industry, the biggest legacy challenge is that networks initially were architected to have much more downstream than upstream capacity. This has proven to be a problem as the demand for upstream bandwidth steadily increases. Full duplex, coupled with coherent operations, are significant enhancements for the industry and may reduce the need for operators to undertake expensive upgrades.