The cable that keeps evolving: Unpacking recent advances in fiber

American businesses embraced fiber optic cabling in 2018, contributing toward approximately $1.2 billion in sales, according to data analysis from Statista. This trend is expected to continue over the next year, analysts for Technavio predict, with organizations here and abroad driving year-over-year industry growth of more than 8 percent. However, the companies embarking on fiber implementation in 2019 will likely encounter a different market. What is the reason for this? Fiber technology is always evolving.

Innovators in this information technology niche are constantly developing and rolling out novel fiber solutions that push the boundaries of internet connectivity. This push work will, of course, move forward over the next 12 months, opening up new possibilities for enterprises looking to bolster their internal networks. Here are some of the cutting-edge products and deployments that could affect the commercial fiber market and its entrants in 2019:

Altering cable DNA

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, recently debuted innovative fiber cabling that could completely transform the networking space.

The new solution, detailed in an article published in the journal Nature Communication, leverages optical fibers wrapped together in the shape of a double helix to carry information via light wave oscillation. These strands feed into a nanophotonic plate that can read and process the data they transmit.

While this encoding method is not wholly unique - various other cable providers are also experimenting with light-wave fiber alternatives, which are much faster than the color spectrum-based models that dominate the market today - the research team's approach was quite groundbreaking, according to RMIT University.

The double-helix fiber design, which the group had previewed in an earlier paper published in 2016 in the journal Science, facilitates data transmission speeds 100 times faster than those available through current solutions. Of course, the researchers understood that this fiber configuration could support never-before-seen transfer rates at the time of publication of the 2016 study.

However, the RMIT University researchers had not yet developed an effective method for processing the massive amounts of screaming-fast data coming through the twisted fiber cabling. This led them to create the nanophotonic device at the center of their latest paper. With this piece of the puzzle in place, the team can perfect their creation and potentially lay the groundwork for commercial cabling products that leverage this accelerated form of light wave oscillation.

Changing the subsea landscape

Subsea cables facilitate global networking, giving users everywhere the power to access the internet and the countless tools it hosts.

These assets, of which there are almost 450 worldwide, according to analysts for TeleGeography, center on sophisticated fiber optic technology designed to support accelerated data transmission across hundreds of thousands of miles. The public and private entities that are responsible for managing these cables therefore continually search for innovative subsea fiber technologies and techniques that might bolster intercontinental connectivity.

A handful of these organizations are set to roll out new cabling infrastructure in 2019, starting with Google.

Back in January 2018, the search giant announced that it would commission three new subsea cables over the course of the forthcoming year. The Curie cable, which will stretch from Chile to Los Angeles when completed, will become the South American nation's largest data transmission channel. Denmark, Ireland and the U.S. will benefit from the Havfrue cable, which will connect all three countries once live in late 2019.

Google's final subsea cable set to come online during the year will span the Pacific Ocean, linking Guam and Hong Kong. All of these assets feature custom specifications, potentially laying the groundwork for future cable innovation. After all, Google has a history of breaking ground in this area. Last year, the company collaborated with Facebook to deploy the Pacific Light Cable Network, a subsea installation that stretches from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and facilitates bi-directional data transfers as large as 144 terabytes, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

As these and other fiber optics innovations materialize throughout 2019, LANShack will be there to help businesses grapple with the fallout and install advanced networking infrastructure that keeps them competitive in the marketplace. We specialize in pre-terminated fiber optic assemblies designed to support companies of all sizes, in virtually every sector.

Contact us today to learn how we have been helping enterprises stay connected for more than two decades.