Adva takes the reins on research project to boost optical network capacity

Adva is leading a research project that is looking to enable fiber infrastructure to carry 10 times more throughput than it currently carries today. (Pixabay)

Adva is taking the lead position on a research project that is drawing a bead on expanding the capacity of optical metro and core networks. With financial backing from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the OptiCON project is exploring technologies that will enable fiber infrastructure to support 10 times more throughput than it currently carries today.  

With the growth of video services, large 5G deployments, online gaming, and IoT applications and services, internet traffic continues to grow unabated. According to the 12th annual Cisco Virtual Networking Index, the average fiber-connected household generated 86 gigabytes of data per month in 2017 and will generate 264 gigabytes per month by 2022.

In order to help alleviate some of that bandwidth demand, OptiCON is looking at unused optical spectrum, developing new fiber types and transmission schemes and enabling advanced monitoring and software-defined networking control.

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“This project couldn’t be more vital. With optical transmission approaching the Shannon Limit and continual increases in per-channel speeds slowly coming to an end, we’re looking at disruptive ways to expand network capacity in the future. By using untapped spectrum, we can maximize the value of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) networks and tackle soaring data demand from cloud, video and mobile,” said Annika Dochhan, principal engineer, advanced technology, Adva and OptiCON project lead, in a statement. “OptiCON is about engineering the next-generation of transport networks and empowering operators to keep pace with the exponential traffic growth they are facing."

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Adva said in its press release that DWDM transport has been mostly limited to the C-and L-bands of the optical spectrum. By working to overcome longstanding technical and economic hurdles, OptiCON's goal is to help operators use more of the available fiber bandwidth in order to carry more bits per second.

OptiCON said this could be achieved via a combination of technical innovations, including advanced amplifiers, improved fibers, new transceivers, and new techniques for monitoring and control. The three-year Adva-led project includes the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, highstreet technologies, the Technical University of Munich and VPIphotonics.

“Our work in OptiCON is focused on the physical layer and developing optical telemetry. This is crucial to enabling the fine-grained data signal adjustments needed for full capacity optimization,” said Ronald Freund, head of photonic networks and systems, Fraunhofer HHI, in a statement. “As a leading research institute for optical transport technology, we have a key role to play in developing the digital society. Working with Adva and the other partners at the center of this cutting-edge project is very exciting. Together we’re developing the technology that will form the building blocks of tomorrow’s networks.”

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