Coherent Optics Ready for Prime Time in Short-Haul Networks

  • April 22, 2024
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Optical fiber transport is the key technology to enable the delivery of fast and affordable bandwidth for all services, such as 5G/mobile, business and residential broadband, cloud computing, and video transport. Coherent optics, a game-changer optical fiber transport technology, has completely transformed optical transmission systems and enabled a widespread upgrade and new deployment of DWDM networks to speeds of 100 Gb/s, 200 Gb/s, and 400 Gb/s per wavelength. Over the past decade, coherent optics has moved beyond its long-haul application origins and is now firmly entrenched in metro networks. 2020 marked the 10th anniversary of digital coherent optical technology being officially deployed in service providers’ networks. Further development in CMOS processing, design simplification, and cost reduction of opto-electronic components, and the need for more efficient optical transport technologies have been factors driving coherent solutions into new market applications, specifically short-haul applications in edge and access networks. This migration model has been demonstrated in the optical industry before: the DWDM system technology started in long haul and subsequently migrating to metro and edge access; forward error correction encoding and decoding followed the same pattern. Benefiting from initial long-haul technology development, coherent optics for access networks is poised to follow the same natural progression.

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