Branched fibre boosts optical network rollout

Branched fibre boosts optical network rollout

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

NTT in Japan has accomplished a breakthrough in connectivity allowing for various types of optical fibre to branch and merge without interrupting communications.

The technology has the ability to significantly reduce high construction costs and time constraints associated with traditional network expansion methods particularly for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The technique was achieved by enabling the creation of optical fibres with a range of effective refractive indices to enable seamless branching and merging. The results will be presented at the Tsukuba Forum 20241 to be held next month. 

The expansion of radio base stations and sensors connected to the network requires a flexible optical network that allows various terminals to connect quickly and easily. However, since it has not been possible to change the network configuration without interrupting communication, to connect terminals to a new location, it has been necessary to construct a new optical fibre cable or other network, which has resulted in high equipment construction costs and time required to open the network.

Fibres with different refractive index distributions have different propagation characteristics so conventional technologies for branching these optical fibres require the same propagation characteristics (effective refractive index) for the fibre at the source and the fiber at the destination.

However, to determine the effective refractive index of the fibres it is necessary to stop the service at the branch source.

NTT has developed a fabrication method for branched optical fibres with a varied core diameter structure. Since the effective refractive index varies with the core diameter, the optical fibre of this structure can be used as an optical fibre with various effective refractive indices.

This allows the structure to be used in a branch regardless of the effective refractive index of the source optical fibre and not require the branch to be shut down. NTT has demonstrated for the first time in the world the technology for fabricating this branched optical fibre.

This greatly expands the range of optical fibers that can be branched compared to conventional fibres and has made it possible to branch and merge all optical fibres that meet the ITU-T G.652 and ITU-T G.657.A1international standards commonly used in single mode optical access networks. 

This enables flexible optical networks that can be connected from anywhere without affecting communications and cut construction costs for telecommunications carriers

NTT will continue to evaluate the environmental resistance characteristics and conduct field verification using prototype devices



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