Summer 2018 Optical Connections Magazine

ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018 |









Chorus sings new song AngaCom & NGON previews OFS in the clear


The OVD Deposition System is an economical way to overclad core preforms. Nextrom’s OFC05 is a dual-spindle cladding system for a deposition rate of 240g/min. As a standard, D4 (OMCTS) as a raw material and CH4 as a burner gas are used.




Industry News

14 Sam Bucci

Apart from holidays and sunshine (unless you live in the UK), summer means we’re in the thick of the conference season. In this issue, we look at some of the topics that will be up for discussion at many of the shows, as well as the issues which are facing the industry as it moves into an era of expansion. Ellen Manning’s feature Stiening the Backbone looks at the growing investment in national networks as consumer demands and the availability of new technologies drive operators to expand their national backbone fibre networks. Across Europe, the US, Africa and the Middle East, backbones are being replaced by fibre on a massive scale and FTTP is becoming a reality for a rapidly growing number of households and businesses. The move from coaxial to fibre networks is not an end in itself however and Kevin Bourg, optical network architect at Corning Optical Communications discusses how hybrid coax/fibre network evolution can lay the foundations for full migration to FTTH. There is a potential threat to the ubiquity of FTTP however and in this issue, we look at the growing popularity of Fixed Wireless Access for last-mile connectivity. The expansion of the fibre market and the need for more speed and capacity is having other ramifications too. Network vendors are looking for ways of making these increasingly complex networks more ecient. In our exclusive interview with Nokia’s head of IP Transport, Sam Bucci talks about the company’s new Photonics Service Engine which automatically selects the appropriate modulation scheme for any particular application and in the process, greatly increases the capacity of new and existing networks infrastructures. Automation is also becoming a hot issue both at the device level and for network infrastructure management. John Williamson looks at the intensive component, product and system developments that are currently underway, with producers and manufacturers looking to improve the logistics, performance and economics of optical networks. Developments in SDN are also impacting on the eciency of fibre-optic networks. With network speeds exploding through 100G, 200G and 400G to cope with trac demands, writes Anthony Savvas, consumers are expecting to pay the same or even less, for more and more bandwidth and so flexible network management systems are now being used to cope with this scenario. The growing tendency to connect multiple data centres is having ramifications across the industry and John Williamson explores the changing nature of the data centre interconnect market, the projected growth in equipment revenues, the automation of network management and the move away from proprietary solutions. This theme is also examined by Ryan Yu, vice president of business development and GM of optoelectronic solutions at Oplink, who discusses in depth the possibilities for connecting hyperscale data centres. So, there will be plenty to talk about at the upcoming industry events and on the subject, as the newly-appointed editor of Optical Connections, I will be attending AngaCom and NGON in June and I look forward to meeting with as many of our loyal readers and supporters as time allows. It’s going to be a great summer! Summer is here!

Optical Networking

16 Ellen Manning 18 John Williamson 20 Peter Dykes 22 Antony Savvas Software Defined Networks 24 Rang-Chen (Ryan) Yu Molex 26 John Williamson Data Centre Interconnect 28 Kevin Bourg HFC Networks 31 Matthew Peach NGON Preview 32 Matthew Peach AngaCom Preview 36 Event Focus 38 Product Focus Fixed Wireless Access Network Investment Fibre Optic Networks

Peter Dykes Editor, Optical Connections




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ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018

Consumer demands and the availability of new technologies are driving operators to expand their national backbone fibre networks EllenManning – see page 16


APAC leads in optical fibre splicing market volumes

Montgomery, principal analyst of the fibre optics group at ElectroniCast. Montgomery adds that, due to the continuing deployment of fibre optic cable assemblies in datacentres, and on-going deployment of Fibre-to- the-Home (FTTH) systems, as well as other optical fibre deployments, the need for easy-to-use, rugged/durable and accurate fibre optic preparation and termination devices is increasing. Stephen Montgomery has specialized in photonics and fiber optic components market and technology forecasting since 1990. He is president for International Business Expansion at ElectroniCast, and director of the Fiber Optics Components group and the LED Market Research group.

According to fibre optics communications market and technology forecast firm ElectroniCast Consultants, the global quantity of selected optical fibre splice preparation instrument/machine units shipped reached 235,400 units in 2017. Of the total, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region consumed 113,600 new instrument/machine units, constituting over 48% of the market. These figures are from ElectroniCast Consultants’ annual study of the use of selected cleavers, strippers and multiple-

market share, both in terms of volume/quantity and value. At present China, the Republic of Korea and Japan are the leading consumers of these fibre optic instrument/machine units in the region. However, India is fast making up ground, and is acknowledged as a rapid adopter of optical fibre communication technologies. “Field-installable fibre optic connectors, fusion splice use, and other optical fibre preparation processing tasks are driving the need for accurate fibre preparation and cleaving,” says Stephen

function (cleave/strip/clean) instruments/machines for the purpose of optical fibre splicing preparation

processing. Items not Included in the market

forecast data are: cleaver or stripper functions, which are integrated (non-detachable) with other device/equipment such as a fusion splice machine; equipment that has a total weight of more than 8 kg (17.6 lbs), as well as stripper/cleaver “tools” (shears, nippers, scissors, and “Pen” Scribes). The study predicts that the APAC region will maintain its leadership role in relative

Chorus to trial new optical wavelength services using Nokia service assurance and commissioning solution

New think tank aims to revive ‘Silicon Glen ’

A collective called T@CST, consisting of academics,

industrialists, funding bodies and government has been launched with the aim of restoring central Scotland’s reputation as a centre for the photonics industry. Speaking at the opening of a new extension to Compound Silicon Technology’s III-V facility in Glasgow, CEO Neil Martin said the current photonics industry opportunity is a modern-day gold rush, likely to peak during 2019 and stressed how critical the photonics industry will be to the UK economy and GDP over the next ten years. Carol Monaghan MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Photonics and a Member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee said, “Across Scotland, photonics currently provides employment for around 3,000 people. Laser sales are in excess of £200 million per annum and 90% of those sales are exports. It enables other industries to be competitive and 10% of UK jobs depend on it.” Martin added, “We plan to facilitate a collective voice for photonics companies in Scotland through the T@CST think-tank.”

Nokia has announced that New Zealand operator Chorus will be trialling its wavelength services solution for on-demand assurance and fulfilment of Layer 1 services. Chorus’ Auckland trial of the Nokia solution is part of the carrier’s “One Open Access Network Infrastructure” vision - an open platform fromwhich it can accelerate the monetisation of its infrastructure by offering fibre access, transport services, premiumco-location and network hubs. The solution under trial is compliant with the emerging MEF standard for L1 subscriber services and will enable Chorus to offer new standards-based optical services to service providers. Due to their high capacity, low latency, and inherent security, Layer 1 connectivity services are increasingly popular with large enterprises and governments migrating more and more IT operations to the cloud. Standardization of these services simplifies the fulfilment and assurance, and facilitates end-to-end orchestration in open, multi- vendor environments. Nokia’s wavelength services solution enables service providers to rapidly deploy on-demand, fully instrumented, standards- based L1 services. It includes the compact

and carrier class Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Demarcation (PSD) for customer premises functions, while open software tools provide the service provider and its customers with rich service assurance reporting capabilities. Ewen Powell, CTO at Chorus, said: “Chorus is looking forward to trialling the Nokia wavelength services solution. With its support for compact demarcation devices and end-customer portal access to fully instrumented service assurance dashboards and reports, we believe that solutions like this will further advance our service offer and put more network control in the hands of our service providers.” Sam Bucci, head of optical networks for Nokia, said: “Our strategy for optical wavelength services, combined with open assurance and fulfilment tools, perfectly aligns with Chorus’ wholesale strategy. Our partnership is founded on this shared vision, and we look forward to trialling this first-of-its-kind solution, which has the potential to open up an entirely different approach to wholesaling optical wavelength services, especially with the imminent release of the new MEF standard.”


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Open Fibre chooses Italtel for network automation

thus increasing eciency and reducing complexity and operating costs. We are particularly satisfied with this and what has been achieved with the valuable contribution of Italtel and Maticmind in terms of professional competence, response and commitment to the common objectives of the project.” The project of the network automation has developed automated workflows that capture the work order from the Customer Relations Manager (CRM) and activate it in a heterogeneous multi-vendor network, consisting of FTTH access, IP and Optical Transport Network. “For this project, which is particularly complex due to the heterogeneity of the network, Italtel has drawn on its strength, which is the ability to make dierent technologies interact with each other,” said Paolo Allegra, head of product/ solution unit infrastructure integration at Italtel. “We have dedicated a specific task force to design the IP Backbone, network services and automation activities on the Cisco NSO technology.”

Italtel, alongside Maticmind, has completed what it claims is a pioneering network automation project to automatically configure network services for Open Fiber, the wholesale-only FTTH Italian operator, which expects to reach around 19 million property units in Italy with FTTH ultra-broadband in the upcoming years. Open Fiber has chosen Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) platform to automate and simplify its operations and provide services in a faster and easier way through network automation. The deployment will allow it to add, modify and delete services automatically without interrupting the overall service and will guarantee real-time activations. Italtel, which was the first company in Italy to be certified on Cisco NSO

technology, designed Open Fiber’s IP Backbone and has been playing an essential role in analysing Open Fiber’s needs, designing network services and the related automation leveraging on the programmable Cisco NSO platform. The platform operates on all network layers, ranging from access to IP and Optical transport. “Open Fiber is now able to deliver wholesale services on a very large scale, significantly reducing the time-to-market of new services and minimising the configuration errors,” says Domenico Angotti, head of engineering at Open Fiber. “Cisco’s Network Orchestrator greatly supports us for the end-to-end operation of the equipment and the supervision of the activation cycles, allowing us to mainly focus our eort on developing innovative customer services,

AI makes FASTER subsea cable go faster

NEC Corporation, in a joint research publication with Google, has demonstrated for the first time that the FASTER open subsea cable can be upgraded to a spectral eciency of 6 bits/s per Hertz (bits/s/Hz) in an 11,000 km segment. This represents a capacity of more than 26 Tbps in the C-band, which is over 2½ times the capacity originally planned for the cable. Importantly, there’s no additional wet plant capital expenditure. The team achieved this result using near-Shannon probabilistic-shaping at a modulation of 64 QAM and,

application of AI technology to open subsea cable systems, on which terminal equipment from multiple vendors may be readily installed.” The experimental demonstration of NLC achieved a Generalised Mutual-Information (GMI) capacity gain of ~0.15 bps/2- pol, which is equivalent to a capacity increase of 15 Gbps in every 100 GHz of fibre bandwidth. NEC announced plans to continue this AI-based research, with the dual aims of increasing system capacity while reducing the complexity of implementation.

of nonlinear propagation, in favour of a low-complexity black-box model of the fibre, generated by machine learning algorithms. The results demonstrate both an improvement in transmission performance and a reduction in implementation complexity.” “Furthermore, since the black-box model is built up from live transmission data, it does not require continued Kawauchi. “This allows the model to be used on any cable without prior modelling or characterisation, which shows the potential advance knowledge of the cable parameters,”

for the first time on a live cable, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was used to analyse data for the purpose of NonLinearity Compensation (NLC). NEC developed an NLC algorithm based on data-driven Deep Neural Networks (DNN) to accurately and eciently estimate the signal nonlinearity. “Other approaches to NLC have attempted to solve the nonlinear Schrodinger equation, which requires the use of very complex algorithms,” said NEC’s Toru Kawauchi, General Manager, Submarine Network Division. “This approach sets aside those deterministic models


| ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018



Arcus buys into Dutch FTTH provider E-fiber

European telecoms investment fund Arcus Infrastructure Partners has acquired a majority equity interest in Dutch FTTH company E-Fiber Exploitatie B.V. According to E-Fiber, the investment will enable it to “significantly expand” FTTH network footprint in the Netherlands. The size of the investment was not disclosed. As part of the transaction, significant new capital will be invested into E-Fiber to fund near-term projects, including ongoing initiatives in various municipalities. The transaction also included the acquisition of shares and repayment of debt previously held in the company by NIBC Bank. E-Fiber is a business that develops, constructs and commercialises FTTH networks in the Netherlands. The company currently owns fibre optic networks in operation that connect to over 100,000 households and is planning additional roll-outs over the coming years. E-Fiber’s public credo is that every household in the Netherlands should have fibre-based broadband access. “Whether you live in a town, small city or rural area, E-Fiber can invest to build high-quality, fibre-to-the- home infrastructure to suit your future needs, relying on constant innovation, proven expertise and hard work,” stated E-Fiber CEO Eric Vos at a recent

community meeting. “Our over-arching aim is simple: fast and reliable broadband for everyone.” “We are very pleased to announce our investment in E-Fiber and look forward to supporting the management team in building the business,” commented Jack Colbourne and Jordan Cott who led the investment on behalf of Arcus. “We are convinced that E-Fiber will grow to become a large- scale fibre optic network infrastructure platform, providing next-generation, ultra-fast broadband to many communities in the Netherlands.” Arcus invests on behalf of institutional investors through discretionary funds and special co-investment vehicles and, through its subsidiaries, currently manages investments with an aggregate enterprise value in excess of €17 billion (as of 31 March 2018). The Arcus track record for telecommunications infrastructure investments includes: Shere Group, a mobile towers business with operations in the UK and the Netherlands, which was realised in October 2016 after more than doubling its portfolio size since the initial Arcus investment; TDF, the largest French telecommunications infrastructure owner and operator, acquired in 2015; and most recently, Swiss4net, a Swiss FTTH network developer and operator.

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ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018


US International Trade Commission clears OFS of patent infringement allegations

Optical cable and systems developer OFS Fitel has announced that a May 8, 2018 Notice of Final Determination by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) cleared OFS, a manufacturer of optical fibre products, of all allegations by DSM Desotech. DSM, a Dutch company, claimed that that OFS optical fibre and the coating used on that fibre violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended. The Final Determination found that “all claims asserted by DSM at the ITC are invalid”. OFS, based in Norcross, Georgia, and its coating supplier Momentive UV Coatings were alleged to have infringed four DSM US patents pertaining to optical fibre coatings and optical fibre made with those coatings, which were imported and sold in the US. The Commission’s Final Determination, affirming in

applications in such areas as telecommunications, medicine, industrial automation, sensing, aerospace, defence and energy. OFS provides reliable, cost-effective fibre

property law that foreign companies come to this country to seek just treatment. “We appreciate the diligence and care taken by the ITC to hear and understand the arguments of both parties in delivering this ruling. The invalidation of the claims in the patents asserted by DSM is a to use unsupportable positions to threaten action.” OFS was represented by Barnes and Thornburg. cautionary note to those who attempt designer, manufacturer and provider of optical fibre, fibre optic cable, connectivity, fibre-to-the-subscriber (FTTx) and speciality fibre optic products. The company puts its development and manufacturing resources to work creating solutions for About OFS OFS is a world-leading

part and reversing in part a preliminary decision from an Administrative Law Judge, found all claims asserted by DSM were invalid and terminated the investigation. Dr. Timothy F. Murray, CEO and Chairman of OFS said, “OFS takes pride and care in use of our technology developed through decades of sustained research and development and innovation. ‘Respects IP’ He added, “OFS also respects the intellectual property rights of others but will vigorously defend ourselves when we believe we are targeted with baseless attacks. We were surprised to be charged with patent infringement based on the use of coatings manufacturer that supplies cable coating products to OFS and has been a supplier of fibre coatings in the past. “It is a measure of the strength of our US system of commercial and intellectual to make optical fibre by DSM, a foreign coatings

The dispute centred on the coatings used by OFS

optic solutions that help customers meet the needs of consumers and businesses today and into the future.

Huawei honoured with Vodafone’s ‘Supplier of the Decade’ award

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, has been named ‘Supplier of the Decade’ by Vodafone. The Vodafone Supplier Awards recognize companies that have “performed outstandingly” in supporting Vodafone Group’s continuous drive for operating efficiency and to deliver greater benefits to its customers. The ‘Supplier of the Decade’ award signifies Huawei’s outstanding contributions as Vodafone’s long- standing strategic partner. It demonstrates Vodafone’s recognition of Huawei’s relentless effort and commitment in providing the highest-

Eric Yang, President of the Vodafone Account at Huawei, said, “We are very pleased to receive the ‘Supplier of the Decade’ award from Vodafone. This award recognizes Huawei’s customer- centric dedication to provide the best solutions and services to support Vodafone’s business growth over the past 10 years. Huawei takes pride in this commitment which has forged our unique partnership with Vodafone. I believe this partnership will continue to thrive and achieve even greater success in the next decade. In the upcoming 5G era, we look forward to working closely with Vodafone to build an even faster and better network for consumers as well as for vertical industries.”

quality solutions and services to support Vodafone’s business growth. The award was presented to Huawei by Ninian Wilson, global supply chain director & CEO of Vodafone Procurement Company, together with VPC’s management team at the Vodafone’s recent Annual Supplier Awards ceremony and 10 years’ anniversary of VPC. Ninian Wilson said, “Huawei took the initiative to set up operations in Luxembourg to support VPC right from the very beginning. Over the past decade, our strategic partnership has grown and flourished thanks to Huawei’s commitment to growing hand in hand with VPC and building trust as a reliable partner gradually over time.”


| ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018

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Anthony Savvas – see page 22

Graphene paves the way to faster high-speed optical communications

Graphene Flagship researchers created a technology that could lead to new devices for faster ultra-broadband transfers. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated how electrical fields boost non-linear optical eects of graphene. The research, carried out by a team of Graphene Flagship partners was led by the Cambridge Graphene Centre at the University of Cambridge. Graphene, among other materials, can capture photons, combine them, and produce a more powerful optical beam. This is due to a physical phenomenon known as the optical harmonic generation, which is characteristic of nonlinear materials. Nonlinear optical eects can be exploited in a variety of applications, including laser technology, material processing and telecommunications. Including high-speed fibre- optic communications, 3D sensing and materials processing. Veeco Instruments has announced that LumentumHoldings has ordered the Veeco K475i Arsenide/Phosphide Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition system for production of its advanced semiconductor components, which address the 3D sensing, high-speed fiber-optic communications and laser-based materials processing end-markets. “The global communications, industrial and consumer electronics markets that our proprietary semiconductor lasers address are growing rapidly,” said Susan Wang, vice

Technology Ocer of the Graphene Flagship, and Chair of its Management Panel, added how “graphene never ceases to surprise us when it comes to optics and photonics.” He also highlights that “the Graphene Flagship has put significant investment to study and exploit the optical properties of graphene. This collaborative work could lead to optical devices working on a range

‘Eciency boosted tenfold’ “Our work shows that the third harmonic generation eciency in graphene can be increased by over 10 times by tuning an applied electric paper and researcher at the Cambridge Graphene Centre (University of Cambridge, UK). “The authors found again something unique about graphene: tuneability of THG over a broad wavelength range. As more and more applications are all-optical, this work paves the way to a multitude of technologies,” said ICREA Professor Frank Koppens from ICFO (The Institute of Photonic Sciences), Barcelona, Spain, field,” explains Giancarlo Soavi, lead author of the

Although all materials should present this behaviour, the eciency of this process is typically small and cannot be controlled externally. Now, partners of the Graphene Flagship project in Cambridge, UK, Milan, and Genova, Italy, have demonstrated for the first time that graphene not only shows a good optical response, but also how to control the strength of this eect using an electric field. Researches envision the creation of new graphene optical switches, which could also harness new optical frequencies to transmit data along optical cables, increasing the amount of data that can be transmitted. Currently, most commercial

of frequencies broader than ever before, thus

enabling a larger volume of information to be processed or transmitted.”

who is the leader of the Photonics and Optoelectronics Work Package within the Graphene Flagship. Professor Andrea C. Ferrari, Science and

devices using nonlinear optics are only used in spectroscopy. Graphene

could pave the way towards the fabrication of new devices for ultra-broad bandwidth applications.

Lumentum selects Veeco MOCVD system for next-gen comms applications

general manager of MOCVD Operations at Veeco. “As customers look for technologies that enable demanding new applications in increasingly competitive markets, many leading photonics, power electronics and LED device manufacturers continue to choose our proven MOCVD systems that deliver strong wafer uniformity and the lowest cost of ownership.”

reducing cost-per-wafer by up to 20 percent compared to alternative systems through higher productivity, best-in-class yields and lower operating expenses. Application areas include lighting, solar, laser diodes, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistors and heterojunction bipolar transistors. “A leading player in the optical communications and commercial laser markets, Lumentum is well positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for next-generation laser and optical devices using Veeco MOCVD technology,” said Peo Hansson, PhD, senior VP and

president of manufacturing at Lumentum. ‘Exceptional performance’ “We chose Veeco’s K475i system with its high capacity and throughput, uniformity of quality, repeatability and exceptional performance to help expand our capacity and better address these growth opportunities. We have a longstanding relationship with Veeco and look forward to future collaboration together.” The K475i system incorporates proprietary TurboDisc and Uniform FlowFlange MOCVD technologies. These innovations allow Veeco customers to improve compositional uniformity and dopant control while


ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018


Angola Cables Introduces New Spectrum Sharing Capabilities on MONET Cable

Angola Cables, a dedicated wholesale carrier based in West Africa, is offering its customers customized amounts of capacity with Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme Spectrum Sharing capability. The operator is making available differentiated virtual fibre pairs, which are dedicated and upgradeable portions of the overall optical spectrum, to end- users over a shared physical fibre pair. Customers can access Angola Cables’ spectrum sharing capability on the MONET subsea cable, which is now live between Boca Raton, Florida and São Paulo, Brazil, with a branching unit extension to Fortaleza, Brazil. Angola Cables is one of the leading capacity providers for the African West Coast and is also a service provider on the MONET subsea cable, an Open Cable system, where each consortium member can select the submarine line terminals for its cable fibre pairs, providing customers

increasing capacity demands. Leveraging programmable infrastructure and software control for scale, self- configuration and optimisation, an adaptive network ensures subsea networks can truly adapt to change in network environments and respond accordingly.”

submarine operators like Angola Cables are taking note of new ways to get the most out of their existing assets to continue to differentiate service offerings. At Ciena, our Adaptive Network vision guides submarine network providers’ efforts to aid their customers in addressing

greater flexibility and choice of technology. Its customers can manage their own traffic and submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE) without the risk of impact to and from other users sharing the common open cable system. The primary benefit of Ciena’s Spectrum Sharing capability is that it provides secure, cost-effective, and reliable connectivity in the form of highly flexible spectrum partitioning allowing Angola Cables to offer virtualised fibre pair products to their end- customers. Last year, Angola selected Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme with WaveLogic Ai and Blue Planet solutions and services to support its new service launch on the MONET subsea cable. The 10,556 km route currently provides more than 25 Tbps of traffic on Angola Cables’ network between the US and Latin America’s major business hub of São Paulo, Brazil. Ian Clarke, vice president, Global Submarine Systems at Ciena says, “Innovative

Angola Cables lays the cable to Brazil in 2017

Laser frequency combs could become future of Wi- Fi, say Harvard researchers

which has a technological significance for efficient use of bandwidth in communication systems.” Frequency combs are widely- used, high-precision tools for measuring and detecting different frequencies of light. Unlike conventional lasers, which emit a single frequency, these lasers emit multiple frequencies simultaneously, evenly spaced to resemble the teeth of a comb. Today, optical frequency combs are used for everything from measuring the fingerprints of specific molecules to detecting distant exoplanets.

A new discovery by scientists at Harvard’s John A Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences has the potential of significantly increasing the capacity of wireless communications. Wi- Fi and cellular data traffic are increasing exponentially but, unless the capacity of wireless links can be increased, all that traffic is certain to lead to unacceptable bottlenecks in networks worldwide, say the scientists. Upcoming 5G networks are a temporary fix but not a long-term solution. For that, researchers have focused on terahertz frequencies, the

submillimetre wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Data traveling at terahertz frequencies could move hundreds of times faster than today’s wireless. In 2017, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) discovered that an infrared frequency comb in a quantum cascade laser could offer a new way to generate terahertz frequencies.

integrated transmitters or receivers that can efficiently encode information. The research has been published in the journal Optica.

“This work represents a complete paradigm shift for the way a laser can be operated,” said Federico

Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering and senior author of the paper. “This new phenomenon transforms a laser — a device operating at optical frequencies — into an advanced modulator at microwave frequencies,

Now, the same team has uncovered a new

phenomenon of quantum cascade laser frequency combs, which would allow these devices to act as


| ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018

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Nokia says it is set to revolutionise fibre optic networking with its PSE-3 chip. Peter Dykes talks to Sam Bucci , the company’s head of IP Transport to find out more.

have the right type of performance and the right type of capacity for a particular application. For example, if a driverless automobile is on the road, the kind of latency required between the automobile and anything it wants to communicate with is very small. So, you would need a dierent network for that than you would for M2M. The latter has to be incredibly reliable and you can’t have any mistakes in that scenario. One other driver is the migration of IT solutions to cloud-based platforms over a wide area. I believe cloud networking is still in its infancy, although there have been great strides made. More and more of the traditional platform- based entities are putting their software out in the cloud and enterprises are slowly beginning to trust putting more of their information out there and use applications that are based in the cloud. The other thing we’ve noticed in optical is that the customer mix has changed. Years ago, CSPs really were the customer. Now, they’re still incredibly important to us, but we’ve added the internet content providers, we’ve added the carrier-neutral providers and enterprises are building private optical networks, so the mix has changed massively. Our roadmap has reflected these shifts, like the hyperscale growth demands hyperscale economics. Its not just about the features, the economics are critical. We’ve had to lower the cost per bit, not in a gradual fashion but in a step-wise fashion because if you can imagine you have to build much bigger networks that are more capital-intensive to support all these applications and with ARPU not keeping step with the need for bandwidth, then you have to lower the TCO. That means that with every generation of technology, we have to pay attention to lowering the TCO. But

OC: When did Nokia become involved in the fibre-optic market and how has the company’s product line evolved? SB: A few years ago, Nokia acquired Alcatel-Lucent which included the Alcatel-Lucent optical portfolio. Nokia, prior to the acquisition had divested its own portfolio which wasn’t that successful. Essentially though, Nokia has been in the optical networks market since its inception. We have a very long history of being in this space both on the Alcatel side, the Lucent side prior to Lucent with AT&T Network Systems, and so on. We are one of the market leaders both historically and today in optical communications. Closer to today, the transformation that’s been happening is from SDH SONET time-division multiplexing world to wave-division multiplexing. That transition is one that we’ve pioneered and have been one of the leaders in. Eectively, we’ve transitioned from 2.5Gbps and 10 Gbps direct detect- type networks to 100 Gbps and above coherent transmission networks. That has been part of our evolution and now we’re moving from not just 100 Gbps networks, but to a world of virtual infrastructure.

was originally driven by the need for bandwidth, pure and simple, and that remains the key driver. The demand for bandwidth has been growing and the service providers that we’ve talked to have been experiencing growth of close to 50% and the content providers are closer to 70% year-on-year. That means that demand is doubling every couple of years. When you think about the type of capacity that a lot of these folks are pushing through their networks, a doubling is incredible. The pervasiveness of video, which is appearing on for example Facebook and other social platforms, is often viewed on a mobile device, thereby gobbling up huge amounts of bandwidth. The growth of mobility is another driver. We’re currently charging ahead to the 5G world and 5G as a networking construct will consume multiples of the type of bandwidth that’s needed today. With IoT, once machine-to-machine communications becomes the norm, it will dwarf the delivery of 5G data and voice to your handset. On top of all that, there’s the world of augmented and virtual reality, which will gobble up even more bandwidth. So eventually, over the next five to 10 years or so, all of this stu is going to require not just bandwidth, but it’s going to require a network that is much more connected to the application. It’s not good enough to just present one big, fat pipe that connects two cities or two endpoints, you need to

OC: What were the technical and business drivers behind the roadmap?

SB: Optical networking technology


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OC: How do you see the market changing in the next five years or so?

CSPs and build their infrastructure so that everyone can run applications over it, but we will also be creating solutions that certain entities will slice and dice and so we will offer a pay as you need model. In that construct, it’s the software and the services parts of our offer that becomes more important. We’re changing, we’re evolving. I think network slicing is going to change the way people approach networking and in particular optical networking. OC: How would you characterise Nokia’s philosophy in terms of the company’s approach to the fibre-optic market? What does it see as its mission? SB: In terms of fibre optics, what we are really trying to be is the market leader, providing the most reliable and scalable and simple to use end-to-end optical networking solutions for all segments globally. The other thing is we happen to be part of a platform that involves two very important entities. One is a tremendous research capability which we depend on to continue to make us leaders in innovation and last but not least, we are part of Nokia which is one of the few companies that can provide an end-to-end solution, from mobility to fixed, IP and optical. We know enough about end-to-end solutions to know that we can develop optical networks that are truly end-to-end. There are others that are pure-play that have to discover that but we have the benefit of being able to engineer our solutions so that they fit nicely into our customers’ networks. Finally, if there was one thing we would be known for is how we take care of our customers. We want to be known as number one in our customers minds in terms of giving them the best optical solutions that are part of a greater Nokia solution.

that’s only half the equation; the other half is to reduce the complexity of these networks and increase the automation because otherwise, the operational expenses go through the roof. The best way to achieve this is to automate the optical network as much as possible. It has to be flexible and simple enough to automate and be scalable. SB: Anywhere that you can have flexibility in the optical network, you are helping to automate things. Coherent technology has evolved over time and when we first introduced it in 2010, that technology was 100 Gbps and it had one modulation scheme called Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK). Since then, we have evolved it, we’ve added 200 Gbps, we’ve added support for different modulation schemes and it’s at a point now where you can dial the capacity up in increments of 100 Gbps, up to the current limit of 500 Gbps. However, the modulation schemes such as QAM, four- eight – and 16-state QAM, have become complex. So as an industry, instead of simplifying things, as we’ve added scalable capacity we’ve made things more complicated. What the PSE-3 brings is firstly, scalable capacity; we can go to 1.2 Tbps with this. The second thing is that we’re bending back the complexity curve. We now have a solution where we pick one modulation scheme and then through something we call Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) we are able to shape the constellation that contains the data to best fit the application that’s required in a link. We are able to do so right up against the Shannon Limit, so we maximise capacity and performance with PCS. It’s not just that we’re doubling the capacity, we’re making it truly automated and very simple to operate. No more guesswork about which modulation scheme to use. We’re very excited about it and so are our customers. Indeed, Shannon himself pointed the way to doing this but it has taken years to figure it out and get it on a chip, but we did it. We took networks that we had already deployed and we looked at what the effect of implementing PSE-3 would be. Over the commonly deployed networks, we saw around 65% increase in capacity. Just as importantly, we saw a 25% - 35% increase in optical performance, which means you can go a longer distance and eliminate regens. As a result, we need to use fewer interfaces which means the total power consumption is reduced by around 60% and the TCO goes down dramatically. We’re going to introduce this in 2018 and we’ll spread it across our whole portfolio in 2019 because we think the larger operators will be very interested in PSE-3. OC: What is PSE-3 and why is this a good time to be launching it?

SB: In general, we see the market growing. There could be a few ups and downs of course, but growth projections on a year-on-year basis indicate that it will grow, driven by all the elements we’ve discussed previously. Optical networks are interesting in that if you think about some of the latency requirements for the new applications such as 5G and IoT, latency is dictated by the speed of light in fibre which means if you pick the shortest path possible and drive as much bandwidth as you can into that path, that’s the best answer to driving latency down. Optical networks are becoming more important as time goes on, I don’t see the demand for capacity diminishing and I believe that solutions such as PSE-3 will be in demand. I see that the customer base is changing which means we have entered into different applications like the hyperscale and webscale companies who build different networks than for example CSPs and ICPs. It means that our network solutions will be proliferating and will be different. Sometimes we’ll satisfy that demand with a traditional system and sometimes an open system. It’s not just about the hardware however, what’s also changing in the next five years is that more and more we are offering automation and virtual infrastructure and software-based constructs that allow our customers to take the network and treat it as something that can be sliced and diced and be consumable in chunks, as opposed to a sum cost that can’t be elevated and value extracted from it. Software is changing as well, which means business models are fundamentally changing. We’ll still ship a whole bunch of equipment to our critical


ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018


STIFFENING THE BACKBONE: Network investment is on the up

N ational fibre networks are the backbone of every country’s communication network - passing information between data centres, providing backhaul for mobile networks and supplying the broadband piped into millions of people’s homes. With the demand on national networks growing rapidly as consumers demand faster speeds, greater bandwidth and lower latency, the pressure is on national network providers to stay ahead of the game. COMMON THEME Network expansion and investment is a common theme among major players in Europe and the US. AT&T’s total investment between 2013 and 2017 in the United States - including capital investment and acquisitions of spectrum and wireless operations - amounted to more than US$135 billion, more than any other public company. While the company won’t disclose fibre-specific investment numbers, in March it said it planned to invest US$23 billion in capital to build the best gigabit network - wireline and wireless - in the US. AT&T’s fibre network extends across 21 states and its 100% fibre network is marketed to more than seven million locations across 70 metro areas.

Consumer demands and the availability of new technologies are driving operators to expand their national backbone fibre networks, writes Ellen Manning

BIG PLAYERS AT&T isn’t alone. In the UK, Openreach has invested more than £11 billion in its network. In 2016 BT announced that its Openreach and EE businesses would spend around £6 million in CapEx over the ensuing three years as part of a plan to help the UK remain the leading digital nation in the G20 group. On a consumer level Openreach is working to make ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds of more than 100Mbps available to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020 using a mixture of technologies. It already provides phone and broadband infrastructure to around 30 million homes and businesses and has announced an ambition to deliver ‘full fibre’ infrastructure to as many as 10 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s. Another major player, Orange, is deploying FTTH networks in its major markets in Europe and at the end of 2017 had reached more than 20 million of connectable households, accelerating its deployments in France and Spain and starting deployments in countries in Africa and the Middle East. “Additionally,

“In 2018, we plan to add three million more locations on our path to reach at least 12.5 million locations across at least 84 metro areas by mid-2019,” a spokesperson told Optical Connections. “Demand has continued to exceed our expectations in the areas where we have made this service available and we want to make the service available to more locations. The fibre-enhanced speeds will open up new possibilities for technology innovators and businesses, as well as consumers who want faster speeds for surfing, shopping, gaming, social networking, business transactions and more. Clearing the path for this technology growth brings more investment in our advanced network and can serve as a catalyst for new employment and economic growth.”


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we are upgrading the capability of our networks towards higher throughputs,” says Yves Bellego, director of network strategy. “We launched 1Gbps symmetrical FTTH offers in Spain for the enterprise market and demonstrated 25 Gbps at the beginning of 2018. We will continue to upgrade our networks so that we can deliver higher speeds as markets mature.” The company is also looking at 5G as a viable option in suburban areas in certain countries, he adds. Like other companies, Orange’s financial investment is confidential but its 2018 CapEx is set to be around €7.4 billion, following on from its 2017 CapEx of €7.2 billion. CREATIVE SOLUTIONS It is clear networks are growing, but this desire for higher capacity and faster speeds ultimately places the biggest burden on the engine that drives it all - the core network. “The core is really important,” says Professor Andrew Lord, head of optical research at BT. “It has to sit in the background not being noticed, not being a bottleneck for lots of other capacity applications that are being carried over it.” While Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM) and coherence may have helped accommodate growing demands over the past two decades, growth rates of 30%-50% mean it’s vital for network providers to stay ahead of the game. You can put more fibre in, says Lord, but you start to hit barriers. “It’s taking up more space, using more power and costing ten times as much. It helps to some extent but it’s not the solution. The industry has always looked for creative solutions that grow at the same rate without taking up the same amount of space, cost and power.” These ‘creative solutions’ involve innovative technology that goes across both core and access networks. When it comes to core networks, it’s about looking at whether it is possible to get more out of existing fibre - eliminating the need to keep putting more fibre in. One method BT is looking at is its Flexgrid infrastructure, which makes it possible to carve up the spectrum more effectively. Other innovations include Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), which can increase the amount of traffic travelling through the same fibre optic cable and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), which Lord says will help give “much more dynamic, flexible control of my overall network resources”. At Orange, Bellego says they anticipated the growth in traffic and in customer’s speeds. “One consequence is the need to connect radio sites with fibre. At Orange, we’ve been aware of the demand for high bandwidth services for quite some time and addressed this by investing heavily in fibre, including in FTTN, [although] this wasn’t necessarily

Orange is investing heavily in fibre for backhaul

the case for the rest of the industry. We also anticipated that the pain points for our customers are evolving. With 4G+ and FTTH, access is no longer the bottleneck, neither in throughput nor in latency. This led us to work on solutions to improve the performance of the home network, on content delivery networks and caching. When it comes to its fibre, Orange’s FTTH GPON has the capability to evolve smoothly towards XGS-PON to deliver high throughput,” says Bellego. “The initial investment is mainly in the passive optical fibre layout, and the upgrade is done without any impact on the optical tree.” In addition, outside dense areas Orange is also testing millimetre wave, which could allow a fibre-like experience using a higher band of 24-28GHz. ALL TOGETHER NOW Expanding networks isn’t just about the fibre, Professor Lord reminds us. New technology requires new switches and new amplifiers, requiring network expansion which in turn means collaboration. Professor Lord recently chaired a workshop at the OFC Conference involving major players such as Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Huawei and Facebook. “These are the companies that matter, all needing to use lots of spectrum in the future,” he says. “There were some differences but also some very common messages on how we make use of fibre in the future. That’s why BT’s research and innovation team undertakes plenty of ‘pre’ research as well as collaborating. We really want solutions that fit our country and the UK has its own particular geography and environment.” That means projects such as Flexgrid aren’t done alone but

with partners such as Huawei or Ciena as well as academic institutions like the University of Cambridge, he adds. Orange also sees the value in collaborating with partners, says Bellego. “We are working with partners in the telecom industry to evaluate the performance of technologies in real conditions, to guide the choice of the most promising technologies to accommodate new uses and the needs of our customers. It’s these tests and trials that enable us to assess cost and gain the experience necessary to design our networks for the next decade, for 5G, for the evolution of FTTH, for virtualised networks. One example is Orange’s collaboration with Huawei looking at 5G as well as a partnership with Nokia and Kathrein to design a smart antenna that manages 4G/5G connectivity.“ That kind of partnership work is vital for one major area of network expansion - 5G. It’s an area Orange is focusing on alongside maintaining its position when it comes to FTTH which it says will “enable Orange to capture new commercial opportunities such as on demand services, while continuing to optimise backbone network costs”. “We are actively preparing for the arrival of 5G as we strongly believe that it will enable the development of radically new uses,” says Bellego. “Today, we are embarking on a series of trials and tests. The first 5G smartphones should arrive in 2019, which will then allow us to start deploying some pilot cities. We expect to see a wider range of terminals in 2020. In Orange countries, 5G deployments will be phased in according to the availability of frequencies and the growth of uses, which we believe is possible from 2020.”


ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018

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