2021 Looks Bright for Optics
First published 11 Feb on ECD website 2021 looks bright for optics (ecdonline.com.au)
With COVID-19 changing the way the world operates, it’s clear that working from home is a viable option for many businesses. With this change in the workforce, along with the continued use of online study and telehealth services, comes the need for higher and faster bandwidth for residential and remote networks. This demand has also created more opportunities for fibre-optic vendors, which is expected to continue throughout 2021 as remote working becomes the ‘new normal’.
During 2020, fibre-optics and communications solutions provider MSS Data Solutions has seen large and medium enterprises demanding more secure and reliable network performance, in order to collaborate with staff and stakeholders. As part of the demand, NBN and 5G networks are growing.
The growth in the NBN results in the need for more fibre optics to be installed nationwide, which in turn requires more rigorous and thorough testing.
Behind every 5G tower and antenna is a fibre-optic cable. The complexity of new antenna hardware to meet 5G requirements has resulted in new types of hybrid cables being utilised to connect the antennas to the base hardware. The higher the frequencies used in the higher bands (FR2), such as 20–40 GHz, means even though coverage is lower, bandwidth is higher. The result is the need for additional antennas to enable seamless coverage in each network area. With this, comes more fibre.
With increased bandwidth and data rates on the horizon, discussion of Cat7 and Cat8 copper cable systems has surfaced and being made available. However, the counter argument of simplicity of using fibre has never been stronger because it already caters for the bandwidths that Cat7 and beyond is trying to achieve. So Cat7 and beyond would be more suited for within a rack’s connections and using fibre between racks.
The NBN is continuing to expand and upgrade from copper to fibre where demand requires it and customers want 100m or beyond bandwidth. With this comes more comprehensive testing and this requires testing regimes and tools that are fully capable to test and verify the installation is capable and connected correctly.
Whether it be for home or business connectivity applications, the fibre in both instances must be tested and verified correctly and MSS Data Solutions has a comprehensive test suite of tools from EXFO to enable and verify this bandwidth and connectivity. This includes testing the ethernet bandwidth that can be delivered down through the installed fibre. If a 100 Gigabyte service is installed, you not only want to verify the optical integrity of the link and its connectors but that the ethernet/IP capability is able to be passed through this pipe, end to end and both ways, up and down, especially when symmetrical throughput is installed. This is especially so in business-grade installations, which are now starting to see 1 Gigabyte symmetrical connections as more commonly available.
Through EXFO, MSS Data Solutions has the testing solutions for this today in addition to having IXIA probe monitoring and Allot cybersecurity monitoring and reporting solutions for proactive network responses when and if required.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in organisations having to expand their data network facilities and networks, and this has also driven demand for new fibre projects that require fibre and fibre accessories, from racks, splice trays, connectors and everything in between such as fibre cleaning equipment.
With Australia having the pandemic under control, many businesses are becoming comfortable and confident in opening their offices. However, MSS Data Solutions does not expect businesses to operate as they did 12 months ago and expects the trend for fibre to continue to grow throughout 2021.
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