Industry Focus - Optical Connections 2020



2019 - 2020 Special Edition INDUSTRY FOCUS

TRAINING A WORKFORCE For a fibre future | p18

THE VIEW FROM: Broadband Forum | p20



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Industry News


Industry Focus M&As

It is said that to understand the future, one must first understand the past. With this in mind, Optical Connections’ Industry Focus Special takes a look at some of the highlights of 2019, and with the help of the latest analysts’ reports, a glimpse at how the fibre optics industry might develop in the future. Let’s face it, 2019 was a very good year for the industry. Consolidation is usually a sign of a maturing ecosystem and there were some major M&A’s in the last 12 months. Not the least of these was II-VI’s acquisition of Finisar for around US$3.2 billion, completed in September. The combined company is looking to become market leader in differentiated materials and devices such as those based on gallium arsenide, indium phosphide, gallium nitride and silicon carbide. Also in the news was Cisco’s acquisition of Acacia, made in an attempt to take a share in the rapidly-growing coherent optical interconnect market as it moves from rack-based to pluggable components. 2019 was also a good year for new products, some of which, such as Infinera’s XR Optics, could have a massive impact on access network architecture in the future. FTTH rollout could also revolutionise in terms of speed and cost using Sterlite Tech’s FTTH Mantra end-to-end solution. Indeed, FTTH rollouts increased massively in the last 12 months and in the Industry Focus section, we take a look at the latest available numbers and initiatives. Last year was also one of massive innovation, from controlling the speed of light and indeed, sending it backwards, to promising advances in quantum which could revolutionise the fibre optic networks of the future. Industry Focus takes a look at these developments and more in this special section of the magazine. Last but certainly not least is a roundup of the latest predictions from leading analyst companies looking at where the markets are likely to go in 2020 and beyond. In addition to Industry Focus, this digital-only issue has the usual features including the latest news and products as well as features on training a workforce for a fibre future and an in-depth interview with the Broadband Forum’s CEO Robin Mersh and CMO Geoff Burke about the organisation’s current work and its roadmap for 2020. To cap it all off, we take a look back at the most successful and well-attended ECOC Conference and Expo to date, featuring fascinating video interviews some of the industry’s major players. Everyone on the Optical Connections and ECOC Expo teams would like to wish all our readers, supporters and advertisers a very happy and prosperous 2020. We look forward to meeting up and doing business with you all in the next 12 months. And don’t forget to mark 21st – 23rd September in your calendar, when ECOC 2020 will take place at the Brussels Expo venue. A GOOD YEAR BEHIND US, AN EVEN BETTER ONE TO COME


Industry Focus Top Products

11 Industry Focus

2019: A Year of Innovation

14 Industry Focus FTTH Rollout

16 Industry Focus Outlook 2020

18 Peter Dykes Training

20 View from:

Broadband Forum


Promotional Feature

23 ECOC2019

27 Broadband ForumWorld 2019

28 Product News

Peter Dykes Contributing Editor, Optical Connections




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Telxius’ BRUSA hits 160Tbps with Ciena’s WaveLogic 5

turn those possibilities into reality.” Telxius is the global infrastructure company of the Telefónica Group, with one of the largest telecommunication sites portfolio in the world. Its more than 20,000 sites are located in Europe and Latin America: “Completing this trial showcases how WaveLogic 5 Extreme, which is an integral part of Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme network solution, raises the bar in coherent optical technology and demonstrates how Telxius’ current network can be transformed to provide an even more superior digital experience for their customers,” added Rodolfo Vigliano, Ciena’s senior managing director of sales. interested in leveraging the principles of quantum physics to send unhackable information across long distances. Researchers at Argonne and UChicago plan to use the testbed to explore science underlying quantum engineering systems and to harness the properties of quantum entanglement, a phenomenon Albert Einstein famously characterised as “spooky action at a distance.” Quantum entanglement links two (or more) particles so that they are in a shared state — such that whatever happens to one immediately affects the other, no matter how far apart they have travelled.

50% more capacity per wavelength. Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, based on WL5e coherent optics, also demonstrated how BRUSA can benefit from open cable network designs, rapid scalability, and a lower total cost of network ownership. “WaveLogic 5 Extreme opens the door to a more scalable submarine network, which can support our customers as they continue to embrace new technologies that require unprecedented levels of bandwidth,” commented Carlos Dasi, Telxius’ Cable CTO. “This remarkable achievement is another example of how our collaboration with Ciena enables us to not only visualise what’s possible for our network, but to Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago launched a new testbed for quantum communication experiments from Argonne. The Argonne quantum loop consists of a pair of connected 26-mile fibre- optic cables that wind circuitously between Argonne to the Illinois tollway near Bolingbrook, IL, and back. At 52 total miles, it is currently among the longest ground-based quantum communication channels in the country. The loop will serve as a testbed for researchers

Telxius’ BRUSA submarine cable has successfully reached record 550 Gbps single-wavelength channel speeds during an advanced trial featuring Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e) coherent optical solution. In addition, a commercially deployable solution was verified for a total capacity of more than 20 Tbps on a single fibre pair. With WL5e, the BRUSA cable is now able to reach a total transmission capacity of more than 160 Tbps. According to Ciena, the record-breaking trial has demonstrated how the BRUSA network can prepare for increasing connectivity demands from telecom operators, OTT services and other requirements driven

by high-bandwidth applications. BRUSA is the highest

capacity submarine cable connecting the Americas. It was opened for business in August 2018 and stretches approximately 10,200 km between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Virginia Beach, USA. BRUSA enables ultra- high broadband services, improves communication reliability and overall network performance, and provides direct access to internet exchanges in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The BRUSA network trial was powered by Ciena’s WL5e, the industry’s first programmable 800G solution. WL5e was used on the BRUSA cable to provide greater scale and increased economic efficiencies and deliver

CityFibre to buy FibreNation from TalkTalk

New quantum loop provides long national testbed for communication technology

UK alternative fibre to the home (FTTH) network operator CityFibre has agreed to acquire TalkTalk Group’s FibreNation FTTH infrastructure arm, including TalkTalk’s shareholding in Bolt Pro Tem Ltd, for £200 million has modified the terms of its FTTH roll-out agreement with Vodafone to enable CityFibre to more rapidly open to other service providers the fibre broadband infrastructure the agreement covers. (US$261 million) in cash. The company also says it

Service provider TalkTalk says the sale is contingent upon shareholder approval; the company expects the acquisition to close in March 2020. CityFibre adds the addition of FibreNation’s FTTH infrastructure will enable the company to expand its roll-out target from 5 million to up to 8 million premises. The agreement, if consummated, will see TalkTalk become a CityFibre customer for the provision of both residential and business services.




AFL Receives Two New Patents

Inphi Completes Acquisition of eSilicon

various modules for xWDM applications. The second is for “Methods, systems and apparatus for manufacturing a cable assembly with breakout and moulded cable assembly.” It recognises a unique process for creating a cable assembly furcation kit which offers protection for fibres under extreme environmental conditions. It also provides for scaling across a wide range of fibres. AFL has standardised on this format, calling it the SST furcation system.

AFL has been awarded two new patents for technology and developments in Optical Connectivity and Apparatus (OCA) products. The first is for “Communications Module Housing.” The commercialised product, the CGM® Plus, is a rack mount panel that accepts different size and form factor xWDM modules. This invention includes a fibre management

Inphi says it has completed the acquisition of eSilicon, as announced on November 11, 2019, in a transaction valued at approximately US$216 million in both cash and the assumption of debt. Inphi says the deal further solidifies Inphi’s market leadership and scale in high-performance electro- optics. “We are pleased to complete the acquisition of eSilicon,” said Ford Tamer, President and CEO of Inphi Corporation. “We welcome eSilicon to the Inphi family

and are excited to advance our shared commitments in driving successful customer engagement, industry- leading innovation, and best

of class execution.” Inphi believes this acquisition will further reinforce its premier

positioning in data centre interconnects, expand its presence into strategic geographic regions for talent acquisition and accelerate its strategic roadmap in developing electro-optics solutions for our Cloud and telecom customers.

guide region that pivots downward to allow full

access to the module storage slots, allowing for flexibility in the field to combine

ADVA demos Europe’s first 5G rail deployment

of train line services; critical, performance and business. Along the track, it leveraged mmWave links that intelligently steered beams to the train’s rooftop connectivity. These were connected to passive WDM add/drop nodes built with ADVA’s low-latency G.metro system and each mmWave AP was capable of dedicated 10Gbps connectivity. All the traffic from the trackside was further aggregated to the railway operator’s core network based on ADVA’s 100Gbps Ethernet aggregation technology. “This demo showed how we can harness an intelligent, open and scalable 5G network for everything from surveillance to passenger communications to mission- critical operational data transport,” commented Carles Terés Casals, director, R&D, FGC. antennae for optimal backhaul and access

5G-PICTURE project, the demo was conducted by ADVA, Blu Wireless Technology, CNIT, COMSA Industrial and the local railway operator and infrastructure manager, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC). “With this demo, we’ve presented the blueprints for the future of rail telecommunication networks. We’ve shown how a combined optical and microwave 5G architecture can carry both critical and non- critical communications, dramatically simplifying deployments and delivering significant cost reduction,” said Jim Zou, senior engineer, advanced technology, ADVA. “Unlike traditional railway telecommunication networks that rely on separate infrastructures, what we’ve proposed with this demo is a unified, automated network able to

support every application and prevent service interruptions. It delivers high-bandwidth internet access to passengers on the move, while also providing train operators with driver- to-control connectivity, access to surveillance cameras and mission-critical onboard applications. Now a single 5G network can provide all telco services for train companies, freight operators and passengers.” Deployed across three stations of the FGC network in Barcelona, the 5G-PICTURE railway testbed interconnected a variety of end-user devices and compute resources using the most advanced optical and wireless network technologies. For the first time in Europe in a live operational scenario, the demo proved that a single integrated infrastructure can deliver safe, secure and reliable connectivity for all three categories

ADVA has announced it has successfully demonstrated Europe’s first 5G rail deployment in an operational environment. Using a combined optical and microwave transport solution, the demo succeeded in delivering multi-Gbps connectivity to fast-moving trains. Until now, supporting the handovers required for consistent broadband connectivity on trains traveling at speed was a major challenge. Built on ADVA’s G.metro passive optical technology and FSP 150 edge aggregation solution, the joint trial featured an integrated architecture for all train communication applications. mmWave access points were used to maintain track-to-train connectivity as well as programmable mobility functions for seamless onboard services. Part of the EU’s Horizon 2020





Deals That Made The News In 2019

Most sectors of the telecoms industry undergo a degree of consolidation from time to time, particularly when a new technology is coming to market, and the fibre industry is no exception. The sector has responded to the onset of 5G and the global demand for higher broadband capacity with massive developments in cable design, connectivity, photonic components and transmission, and as a result, some of the larger companies have been hitting the acquisition trail to offer more complete solutions, writes Peter Dykes.

II-VI + FINISAR Probably the biggest deal of 2019 was optoelectronic device manufacturer II-VI’s acquisition of Finisar for around US$3.2 billion, completed in September 2019, following antitrust clearance from the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation. Under the terms of the agreement, Finisar shareholders will receive on average US$15.60 in cash and 0.2218 shares of II-VI common stock per 1.0 share of Finisar common stock depending on each shareholder’s election as laid out in the merger agreement. The financing for the transaction was US$1.9 billion of cash raised in a combination of Term Loans A and B with a combined interest rate of L+251 and US$1.1 billion of the company’s stock, with Finisar shareholders owning around 32% of the combined company.

CISCO + ACACIA Another big acquisition in 2019 was network infrastructure company Cisco’s purchase of coherent optics specialist Acacia for US$2.6 billion. This is a classic case of a large company acquiring expertise it doesn’t currently possess in a developing market. The reasoning behind the purchase is that while Acacia is a relatively small company, it is very involved in the coherent optical interconnect market which looks to be growing rapidly in value and is already a multi-billion-dollar market, as demand for coherent optical interconnect moves from rack-based to pluggable components. Although Acacia has been supplying its optical systems and routers to Cisco for some time, taking the technology in-house should give Cisco more traction with its service provider and cloud customers.

This deal means the combined company can offer a wide range of high- performance data communications transceivers, coherent transmission technology and ROADM solutions. II-VI will be able to address markets which include products next-generation subsea, long-haul and metro networks, hyperscale datacentres and 5G optical infrastructure, LIDAR optoelectronics and laser design. The merged company will also have a combined portfolio, which includes optoelectronic, optical and integrated circuit device design expertise, as well as GaAs, InP, SiC, GaN and diamond technologies, increasing its footprint in the burgeoning markets for RF devices for next-generation wireless, military applications, electric cars and green energy. Read the full story here.




The Acacia deal means Cisco will be competing directly with Infinera, Huawei and Ciena, being the only other optical system vendors with the in-house capability for developing and producing footprint in the optical communications components market generally, following the company’s buy-out of Luxtera for US$660 million, which was completed in February 2019, and gave Cisco purchase in the 100GbE/400GbE integrated optics datacentre market, meaning the company has a foothold in both the short- and long-haul transmission sectors. At the time of writing, the deal has yet to be fully closed, pending the usual conditions, but it has to date received regulatory approval in Germany, China and the United States. On completion, Acacia employees will join Cisco’s Optical Systems and Optics business within the networking and security business under David Goeckeler. Read the full story here. the key components for coherent line cards. It also enlarges Cisco’s electro-optics, Inphi has signed a definitive agreement to acquire eSilicon for US$216 million in both cash and the assumption of debt. Once complete, Inphi expects the acquisition would combine Inphi’s DSP, TiA, Driver and SiPho disciplines with eSilicon’s 2.5D packaging and custom INPHI + ESILICON In a bid to take the lead in custom

silicon design capabilities and accelerate its roadmap for electro-optics, 5nm advanced CMOS process node, and custom DSP solutions, as well as augmenting Inphi’s existing SerDes (Serialiser/Deseriealiser) team and resources. Inphi has history with the eSilicon team through past interactions, investment and an ongoing board observer seat. Read the full story here. CIENA + CENTINA Ciena has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Centina, a provider of service assurance analytics and network performance management solutions, for an undisclosed sum. Centina’s technology and engineering expertise will be integrated into Blue Planet, a division of Ciena. The acquisition of Centina is intended to accelerate Blue Planet’s software strategy of providing closed- loop, intelligent automation solutions that help communications service providers improve operational agility while delivering a highly differentiated customer experience. Specifically, the Centina solution will expand Blue Planet’s assurance capabilities by collecting and collating fault, event, and performance data from multiple vendors and network layers, including virtual domains such as NFV as well as more traditional optical, Ethernet and IP/MPLS networks

and services. Integrating Centina’s robust service assurance capabilities with Blue Planet Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO) and Blue Planet Inventory (BPI) will allow continuous optimisation of service performance, quality and availability on a proactive basis by resolving problems automatically before they impact the service and user experience. Read the full story here. EKINOPS + PADTEC Ekinops, headquartered in Paris, France, a supplier of telecommunications solutions for telecom operators, has agreed to acquire the OTN-Switch (Optical Transport Network) platform developed by Padtec, an optical communications system manufacturer based in Brazil. Ekinops Group’s cash resources and debt will finance the acquisition, for an amount of €10 million in cash. To strengthen its balance sheet, but subject to favourable market conditions, the Group says it plans to carry out a capital increase by private placement, for an amount capped at 10% of the capital stock. OTN technology is used to switch data traffic over optical fibres, significantly optimising network bandwidth utilisation. The OTN technology developed by Padtec will allow Ekinops to meet growing market demand for this type of technology. Read the full story here.

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TOP PRODUCTS IN 2019 From network architecture to cable ties, 2019 saw a plethora of new products and here, we list just a few. They are not listed in any particular order, but we think each product will, in its own way, have a significant impact on some aspect of the optical communications industry in the coming year and beyond.

Infinera’s XR Optics

EXFO’s Optical Explorer

Every once in a very rare while, a

Canada-based test and monitoring company EXFO launched Optical Xplorer™, the first optical fibre multimeter (OFM).

technology comes along that feels like a game-changer and XR Optics, which the vendor describes as “the industry’s first point-to-multipoint coherent optical subcarrier aggregation technology optimised for hub-and-spoke traffic pattern,”

EXFO says the Optical Xplorer makes fibre testing simple for all frontline

technicians, beginner, or

does seem to fall into that category. Essentially, XR Optics utilises independently routable Nyquist subcarriers and coherent optical aggregation capabilities to divide a single high-speed wavelength into multiple low-baud-rate subcarriers. Rob Shore, Infinera’s SVP Marketing told Optical Connections, “Historically, if you pick 16 destinations, each of which required 100G of connectivity, you would need to put a 100G laser in each of those destinations. Then at the aggregation location there would be a device to

expert—radically speeding up the process while

manage the traffic. On that device there would have to be 16 additional 100G transceivers. With XR Optics, there only needs to be a single 400G transceiver at the aggregation site, meaning that instead of 32 lasers, only 17 are required and instead of 16 ports, only one is needed.” Of course, the success of XR Optics in 2020 will depend heavily on the industry’s willingness to invest in the solution. Read the full story here.

empowering them to do more on- site. The device verifies optical links in seconds, and if faults are suspected, it finds and identifies them automatically. EXFO unveiled this new product category simultaneously at ANGA COM, Europe’s leading broadband exhibition; and at Fibre Connect, North America’s premier event for fibre broadband professionals. Read the full story here.

HUBER+SUHNER’s copperless link to the antenna

HUBER+SUHNER has launched a Direct GPS-over-Fibre (GPSoF) solution which it claims is the first of its kind to facilitate a fibre optic connection to be made directly onto an antenna, eliminating the need for a separate power line. This new capability, the company says, has the potential to revolutionise the remote

antenna application landscape by addressing power constraints at the remote end. It is expected to provide significant benefits to installations within the aerospace and defence markets Read the full story here.



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Sterlite’s Mantra TM, ready-to-fit FTTx solution

Wave2Wave’s ROME Mini expands autonomous network with robots

Physical layer automation specialist Wave2Wave Solution has introduced a small form factor robotic fibre switch, ROME Mini. The company has expanded its ROME product portfolio to include the Mini in response to the fast-growing demands of edge computing, 5G, IoT, and AI as those technologies flex to support a new generation of applications such as self-driving cars. ROME Mini is sized at 19 inches making it rack mountable for data centre installation, as well as the ideal size for locations where optical fibres are running, such as sub-sea cable landing stations, outlying mobile backhaul facilities or the limited space under the floor. With its more than 200 fibre capacity, ROME Mini offers a lower price point of entry

Of the many new products on show at ECOC 2019, some of the smallest ones can be the most significant. A prime example is Rapstrap, which has launched what it claims is a revolutionary cable tie. Building on the experience gained with the original rapstrap – now known as the Classic, the company has developed the i-Tie (intelligent tie) as a more efficient alternative to the standard nylon cable tie. i-Tie, a cabling revolution? providers to swiftly roll-out FTTx networks at massive scale, near-zero response time and great agility at optimised costs. Sterlite commented that more than 55 per cent of the 7.6 billion people in the world are using the Internet today: “As they use more and more devices, content and apps, global annual IP traffic is growing exponentially, and is expected to reach 7 Zettabyte by 2020. Read the full story here. Sterlite Tech, a global data network solutions company, has launched its Fibre To The x (FTTx) solution – known as FTTx Mantra TM. It made its debut at the recent FTTH Conference 2019. Built as an end-to- end solution, FTTx Mantra TM is designed to empower communication service

while providing significant CAPEX and OPEX savings for network operators via automation. Read the full story here.

Emtelle’s internal/external FTTH solution

Emtelle, the provider of blown fibre and ducted network solutions, has launched its HomeConnect cable, a pre- connectorised cabling system that can be installed for internal and external use. The offering is designed to deliver significant time and cost savings to fibre operators, said the firm. The small and flexible cable features a 3mm Low Fire Hazard (LFH) sheath for internal use which is covered by a slideable and adjustable 5mm PE sheath for external use. “Emtelle HomeConnect is the only solution on the market to feature this slideable and adjustable sheath,” the company said. The product comes pre-terminated with an LC or SC connector at the house end,

iand reduces the skills and tools required by operators deploying fibre- to-the-home (FTTH) connections, cutting the time and cost of installations. Read the full story here.

INNO’s high magnification fusion splicer INNO Instrument Inc, a global developer of optical communications products and testing solutions, is showcasing what it claims is the world’s most advanced ribbon splicer, the View 12R, at OFC. To ensure fast and precise connectivity, fibres need to be spliced in a highly-visible environment

with optimal lighting and magnification during the splicing process. With this in mind, INNO Instrument developed the View 12R which features the world’s highest magnification rate, of 250x with a simple double tap zoom for ultimate control. Read the full story here.

When a tie has been made with an i-Tie and the end is cut off, the remainder of the tie can be used for successive ties until only 5% or less of the original tie remains, depending on the diameter of the cables being tied. Read the full story here.




2019: A YEAR OF INNOVATION If nothing else, 2019 was a year of innovation in an industry which is still exploring the possibilities of light as a transmission medium. From controlling light in new ways to developing new materials and techniques for keeping optical communications secure, researchers have made some major breakthroughs which could have massive implications for the industry in the coming months and years.

CONTROLLING THE SPEED OF LIGHT – AND SENDING IT BACKWARDS Researchers at the University of Central Florida, US, have developed a way to control the speed of light. Not only can they speed up a pulse of light and slow it down, they can also make it travel backwards. The results were published recently in the journal Nature Communications. This achievement is a major step in research that could one day lead to more efficient optical communication, as the technique could be used to alleviate data congestion and prevent information loss. With more and more devices coming online and data transfer rates becoming higher, this sort of control will be necessary. Read the full story here. MANIPULATING LIGHT – WITH FOAM An analysis by Princeton researchers has shown that a type of foam, long studied by scientists, is able to block particular wavelengths of light. This is acknowledged as a highly desirable property for next-generation information

technology that uses light instead of electricity. The researchers, integrating expertise from materials science, chemistry and physics, conducted exhaustive computational simulations of a structure known as a Weaire-Phelan foam. They found that this foam would allow some frequencies of light to pass through, while completely reflecting others. The selective blocking, known as a photonic band gap, is similar to the behaviour of a semiconductor. Read the full story here. BREAKTHROUGH IN HOLLOW- CORE FIBRE The University of Southampton’s Optoelectronic Research Centre (ORC), based in the Zepler Institute of Photonics and Nanoelectronics (UK), has announced significant breakthroughs in hollow-core fibre (HCF) technology. It presented its “record results” in sessions at the ECOC conference in Dublin. Hollow-core fibres are optical fibres where the conventional glass in the core is replaced by a gas or vacuum. These fibres, with a so-called “holey” centre, have interested scientists and

engineers around the world for decades owing to their special properties, which include faster light speed and thus less information delay than glass-based counterparts. Such fibres also have the potential for lower loss and higher data transmission capacity than the conventional all-solid glass optical fibres in use today. Read the full story here. TURNING OFF BACKSCATTERING TO IMPROVE OPTICAL DATA TRANSMISSION Engineers at the University of Illinois have found a way to redirect misfit light waves to reduce energy loss during optical data transmission. In a study, researchers exploited an interaction between light and sound waves to suppress the scattering of light from material defects – which could lead to improved fibre optic communication. Their findings are published in the OSA journal Optica. Light waves scatter when they encounter obstacles, be it a crack in a window or a tiny flaw in a fibre optic cable. Much of that light scatters out of the system, but some of it scatters back toward




Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, the miniscule component makes it possible to scale up, and could ultimately reach the capabilities required for a quantum computer or quantum internet.

UK TESTS WORLD-FIRST COMMERCIAL-GRADE QUANTUM NETWORK LINK The UK has marked a milestone in the development of ultra-secure quantum networks with the opening of the world’s first commercial-grade quantum test network link between the BT Labs in Suffolk and the Cambridge node of the UK’s new Quantum Network. A statement from BT noted that the advent of quantum computing will offer huge increases in computing power and capabilities, but in the wrong hands it could also be used to render many security encryption measures obsolete. In order to both provide and secure future communications, UK government and industry are working collaboratively on a range of new technologies, including Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). The new high-speed link will enable testing and demonstration of new quantum technologies. This will include trials of how these technologies can be used to secure critical and sensitive data across vertical industry sectors such as healthcare, banking, defence and logistics. Read the full story here. QUANTUM INFO BOOSTED BY THIN-FILM BREAKTHROUGH Efforts to create reliable, light-based quantum computing, quantum key distribution for cybersecurity, and other technologies has received a boost from a new study demonstrating an innovative method for creating thin films to control the emission of single photons. “Efficiently controlling certain thin-film materials so they emit single photons at precise locations – what’s known as deterministic quantum emission – paves the way for beyond-lab-scale quantum materials,” said Michael Pettes, a Los Alamos National Laboratory materials scientist and leader of the multi- institution research team responsible for the study. The scalability of these two-dimensional, tungsten/selenium thin films makes them potentially useful in processes to manufacture

the source in a phenomenon called backscattering, the researchers said. Read the full story here. LIGHT CONNECTS TWO WORLDS ON SINGLE CHIP Researchers of the University of Twente, Netherlands, say that for the first time they have succeeded in connecting two parts of an electronics chip using an on-chip optical link. A light connection could, for example, be a safer means of connecting high-power electronics and digital control circuitry on one chip, without a direct electrical link. Until now, however, an optical link was not possible using standard silicon chip technology. Vishal Agarwal, a UT PhD student, has managed to do so. He worked out how to develop a very small optocoupler circuit that delivers a data rate measured in megabits per second, and in an energy-efficient way. Read the full story here. WORLD FIRST SOLITON MANIPULATION ON SILICON A collaboration between the Sydney Nano Institute and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has for the first time manipulated a light wave, or photonic information, on a silicon chip that retains its overall ‘shape’. The Sydney-Singapore team has for the first time observed ‘soliton’ dynamics on an Ultra-Silicon-Rich Nitride (USRN) device fabricated in Singapore using state-of-the-art optical characterisation tools at Sydney Nano. The team say this foundational work, published this week in Laser & Photonics Reviews, is important because most communications infrastructure still relies on silicon-based devices for propagation and reception of information. Manipulating solitons on-chip could potentially allow for the speed up of photonic communications devices and infrastructure. Ezgi Sahin, a PhD student at SUTD conducted the experiments with Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo at the University of Sydney. Read the full story here.

quantum technologies. Single-photon generation is a requirement for all- optical quantum computing and key distribution in quantum communications, and it is crucial for advancing quantum

information technologies. Read the full story here.

NANOCOMPONENTS DEVELOPED FOR QUANTUM COMMS University of Copenhagen researchers have developed a nanocomponent that emits light particles carrying quantum information. Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, the miniscule component makes it possible to scale up, and could ultimately reach the capabilities required for a quantum computer or quantum internet. The focus of the researchers, based at the Centre for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q) at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, is on developing quantum communication technology based on light circuits, known as nanophotonic circuits. The UCPH researchers say they have now achieved a major advance in this field. “It is a truly major result, despite the component being so tiny,” says Assistant Professor Leonardo Midolo, who has been working towards this breakthrough for the past five years. Read the full story here. ENTANGLEMENT MILESTONE POINTS TO INTER-CITY QUANTUM NETWORKS A team led by Innsbruck physicist Ben Lanyon has sent a light particle entangled with matter over 50 km of optical fibre. This first-time achievement is hailed as paving the way for the practical use of quantum networks, and sets a milestone for a future quantum Internet. The Innsbruck team note that because quantum information cannot be copied, it is not possible to send this type of information over a classical network. Quantum information must be transmitted by quantum particles, and special interfaces are required for this. Read more here.



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2019: A GOOD YEAR FOR FTTH 2019 was indeed a good year for FTTH rollouts, both in terms of the number of connections made and investment in future access network expansion plans. Here we take a look at selected European countries and their progress – or lack of – towards full fibre broadband for everyone.

A t the beginning of the year, the Market Panorama and forecast data prepared by IDATE for the FTTH Conference 2019, showed that FTTH/B was growing fast in Europe. The report revealed that by September 2018, there were more than 59.6 million FTTH/B subscribers in the European region, an increase of 21%, with overall coverage reaching 36.4%. While Italy had the higher growth in homes passed at 43.1%, for the first time, the UK entered the ranking. The report found that the number of FTTH/B subscribers increased by 15.7% in the top 39 European countries since September 2017 with more than 59.6 million FTTH/B subscribers in September 2018. Although Russia , which is included in the group, leads in terms of FTTH/B subscribers in the European region, it has showed a lower growth rate compared to other European countries which are catching up quickly with a 21% growth rate. In addition, the deployment of both FTTH and FTTB networks has increased significantly, according to IDATE. It found that by September 2018 the estimated coverage of FTTH/B

reached 46.4% in the 39 group and 36.4% in EU282, which does not include countries such as Russia. This, said IDATE, shows a clear upward trend from

September 2015 where the estimated coverage rate was 39% in the EU39 and 27.2% in the EU28. Read the full story here .

Source: IDATE




In France fibre broadband wagon was speeding up, with the number of premises made connectable to FTTH increasing by 1.13 million in Q2 2019. This is about 37% more than in the same period the previous year. According to the latest quarterly account from national telecoms regulator l’Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes (ARCEP), this was the best FTTH quarter recorded so far and, as of June 30, 2019, 15.58 million premises were eligible for FTTH offers, an increase of 32% in one year. Read the full story here . Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), in September 2019 almost 170,000 new fibre connections were added to the national total. Extrapolating from CNMC figures, the number of Spanish FTTH connections is now fast approaching 10 million. The new additions represent an annual increase of 1.7 million FTTH lines compared to the figure for September 2018. This offsets a reduction in country-wide DSL connections of 1.2 million in the same period. The FTTH market leader with 4.2 million lines, or 43.4% of the total, was the Telefónica-owned Movistar. Earlier in the month, the smaller Spanish FTTH player MasMovil inked an agreement to sell a stake in its FTTH network covering around 940,000 units to a partnership of Macquarie Capital and Aberdeen Standard Investments. The price was €218.5 million. Read the full story here . A report released in October predicted that in 2019 the availability of German broadband Gigabit-capable connections YoY will grow by 73% to 19 million. According to a report published in November, by the Spanish telecommunications regulator

As components of this, the number of subscribers passed by FTTB/FFTH connections will expand by 20% to 4.4 million, while the number of Gigabit- capable ports on cable HFC networks (DOCSIS 3.1) will almost double from 7.4 million in 2018 to 14.7 million by the end of this year. In Germany Gigabit ports are presently only available with FTTB/FTTH and HFC cable networks with DOCSIS 3.1. The new analysis, prepared by Dialog Consult and the industry association, the Verband der Anbieter von Telekommunikations- und Mehrwertdiensten (VATM), also estimates that the private sector will be responsible for financing 92% of the growth. Read the full story here . Also in Germany, Emtelle announced a strategic partnership with Deutsche Glasfaser, a leading FTTH provider, for the supply of a range of tube bundles and fibre cables in a contract worth €63 million. Combining two market leaders in FTTH deployment and solution manufacture, the long-term agreement secures the supply of Emtelle’s complete passive FibreFlow solution; from minicables and microducts from exchange to cabinet, and the distribution of Emtelle’s pre-installed fibre systems and tube bundles from cabinet to home. For the final home connection, a range of customer entry systems, termination boxes and patchcords will complement the entire package. Read the full story here . It’s a rather different story in the UK however. Creeping on to the IDATE report with just 1.5% of combined FTTH/B penetration, UK FTTH/B in 2018 subscriptions grew by 83% compared to September 2017 for a total of 369,250 subscribers, and FTTH/B homes passed

rose to 22.8% reaching 2,817,000, although these figures are from a very low base. By April 2019, around 400,000 UK properties gained access to full-fibre broadband for the first time over the first four months of the year, according to telecoms regulator Ofcom, which gave access to a total of 8% of all premises, marking a one percentage point gain, the watchdog said. The newly-elected government in the UK had already set out a plan for full fibre earlier in 2019, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson was questioned at the time by the industry on the grounds that “ambition alone would not be enough to overcome the scale of the considerable task ahead.” Industry groups also called for the removal of regulatory barriers to speed up provision. Read the full story here . Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland , National Broadband Ireland (NBI), established by investment firm Granahan McCourt, has signed a contract with the Irish government to deliver the country’s National Broadband Plan (NBP). The project aims to end the digital divide between urban and rural communities, promising to provide equal opportunities for every home, farm and business in Ireland. “Once the plan is completed 100% of the population will have access to a modern and reliable broadband network, capable of supporting current 146,000km of fibre cable to connect every one of the 537,000 premises in the roll-out area. “The full deployment across 96% of Ireland’s land mass is recognised as one of the most ambitious telecom infrastructure projects globally.” NBI added. Read the full story here . and future generations,” said NBI. The scheme will involve laying

Once the plan is completed 100% of the population will have access to a modern and reliable broadband network, capable of supporting current and future generations




The last couple of years have seen players in the fibre optic communications industry thrive, as operators globally look to meet demands for higher data speeds and increased connectivity. But will the boom continue? We look to some top analysts for answers. INDUSTRY OUTLOOK, 2020 AND BEYOND

ACCESS OPTICS According to LightCounting’s annual Next Generation Access Optics report and forecast, published in December 2019, sales of optical transceivers for wireless fronthaul and backhaul more than doubled in 2019 because of acceleration in deployments of 5G in China. It says that this market segment will continue to grow rapidly in 2020-2021, but it is projected to

decline subsequently. It finds that Chinese service providers plan to complete most of their fronthaul deployments for 5G in the next two to three years and growing demand for these products from all other regions will not be sufficient to compensate for lower sales in China. Service providers in the US and Europe have a lot less fronthaul fibre deployed, and other regions are even further behind.

While all service providers will continue to deploy more fibre and fronthaul optics, all these projects combined will not be able to match the scale of initial deployments of fronthaul optics in China. Read more here. AOCS AND EOMS At the end of 2019, LightCounting also released the 12th edition of its active optical cables (AOCs) and embedded optical modules (EOMs) report which found that despite the diversity in products, nearly two-thirds of the total units from 2020-2024 will be due to just two products, 1x10G and 1x25G AOCs. That’s in spite of the fact that the company’s new AOC unit forecast for the year 2023, shown in the figure below, is 43% lower than its December 2018 forecast, mainly due to reduction in demand estimates for 1xN products by Chinese hyperscale datacenter operators. LightCounting’s AOC revenue forecast for 2023 has increased 20% however, due to a new 400G (8x50G) AOC that it believes will see significant usage in high performance computers (HPCs), cloud, and core routing applications.

Source: LightCounting




wavelengths are forecast to comprise the highest share of shipments in three years. Finally, 800 Gbps wavelength shipments are projected to begin ramping in 2020. Read more here. PHOTONICS A research report available from MarketsandMarkets, predicts the global photonics market will grow from US$520.0 billion in 2017 to US$780.4 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 7.0 % during the forecast period. The B2B research company says the growth of this market is driven by the increased demand from applications such as displays, information and communication technology, photovoltaic systems, medical technology and life sciences, measurement and automated vision, lighting, and production technology. It adds that there is also growing demand for technologically advanced products owing to digitalisation, development of smart infrastructures and adoption of smart manufacturing. Read more here. According to figures released by the UK’s Photonics Leadership Group (PLG), companies manufacturing and delivering services based on photonics technology in the UK produce £13.5 billion in output every year, contribute £5.3 billion of gross added value to the UK economy annually and employ 69,000 people in the UK at a productivity of £76,400 per employee. The latest PLG analysis has reviewed the 1200 companies operating in and around photonics ensuring that only the most relevant UK-based companies were included with locations based on real manufacturing and operating addresses. This year’s analysis drew from 930 separate organisations made up of 1,030 legal entities with 1,100 operating locations. Read more here.

Source: LightCounting

COHERENT DWDM In its recent market forecast, telecoms and networks analyst Dell’Oro Group, says coherent DWDM revenue is forecast to reach US$16 billion by 2023. This revenue growth will be driven by 200+ Gbps wavelength shipments, it observes. “The 100 Gbps growth cycle is behind us,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President at Dell’Oro. “This doesn’t mean that coherent 100 Gbps wavelengths are no longer needed. It is just that with new 60 Gbaud and soon to be released 90 Gbaud based line cards, the reach of 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps coherent signals can reach much further and help service providers lower their cost-per-bit.” The report says that the total WDM market comprising metro and long-haul systems is forecast to grow at a 5% CAGR; WDM Metro will slightly outpace DWDM Long Haul growth during the forecast period. Furthermore, disaggregated WDM systems are projected to exceed US$3 billion in revenue by 2023 and 200 Gbps

LightCounting says that in the late 1990’s, telecom equipment used optical interconnects between racks of multi- chassis systems such as optical cross connects. Those systems collapsed physically into single racks but we are now seeing new-generation multi- chassis systems for optical transport to handle ever-increasing bandwidth. While 4 or 5 equipment OEMs are planning or considering the use of EOMs between chassis, LightCounting assumes this will bring a good but not huge total volume, ramping from 2018 onward. Other applications of EOMs, including military, aerospace and industrial, are high-value, long-lived opportunities. These have had success since 2011 and the report sees accelerating growth as optics replaces copper in places where performance, size, weight and power trumps cost, particularly in military and aeronautics. So far, this category is a collection of niche applications but those applications actually number in the hundreds. Read more here.

The 100 Gbps growth cycle is behind us, [but] this doesn’t mean that coherent 100 Gbps wavelengths are no longer needed.



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