For Optical Fiber,
More Bandwidth Looms
Engineering improvements to fiber, as well as enhancements to detectors and sources,
aim to improve capacity for long-haul networks and data centers.
BY HANK HOGAN
The world’s data travels largely by fiber, with more being moved than ever before. San Jose, Calif.-based
networking giant Cisco Systems forecasts
that data traffic will grow 22 percent a
year from 2015 to 2020.
Little wonder, then, that more fiber is
going in the ground, under the sea and
into data centers. This year the opti-
cal fiber installed in communication
networks globally will total 421 million
kilometers, said Richard Mack, princi-
pal analyst with market research firm
“This total is 10 percent more than the
amount installed in 2015, and it is almost
twice the amount installed five years ago,
in 2011,” he said.
In addition to more fiber being installed, industry and researchers are also
working to boost capacity by engineering
the fiber as well as improving sources and
detectors. Some are looking at what could
be fundamental material changes.
An example of these trends at work can
be seen at Corning Inc. Based in Corning,
N. Y., the company makes fiber for a wide
variety of applications, said Joel Orban,
product line operations manager for the
Fiber innovations, along with improvements in optical transceivers and connectors, are needed to keep up with surging demands
for both more data and higher bandwidth.