Optical O-band modules cut the cost of building 5G networks

Optical O-band modules cut the cost of building 5G networks

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Telecoms specialist Salumanus is one of the first companies to reintroduce a complete network offering comprising optical modules and multiplexers based on O-band, a type of optical transmission with significant cost saving advantages for 5G networks. After months of testing in a special laboratory in Poland, the GBC Photonics QSFP28 optical modules and multiplexers are now available to order.

Devices that use O-band transmission can help save 50 per cent in network building costs and reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by about 80 per cent.

Fiber-optic communication is mainly conducted in the wavelength region where optical fibers have small transmission loss. Wavelength regions are divided into five bands: O-, E-, S-, C- and L-bands. O-band or original band was the main band used in telecommunications, due to its zero chromatic dispersion. With its transmission range between 1260 nm to 1360 nm, O-band was the basis for creating lasers and detectors.

Over time, C-band became the preferred choice for operators due to the high attenuation rate of O-band in long distance applications. However, the increasing bit rates, up to 400G today, forced further changes. The 100G transmission in the C-band could work only for 2-3 km distance. To send the data farther, operators need to compensate for the chromatic dispersion or use more expensive coherent optics.

For this reason, O-band has seen a significant bounce back, as it can facilitate 100G transmission up to 30-40 km without interference and without amplifiers. O-band technology consists of passive multiplexers and optical modules in the QSFP28 form factor, which can be installed directly in network devices.

The GBC Photonics QSFP28 optical modules and multiplexers provided by Salumanus are some of the first ones released on the telecom market. They allow operators to send multiple 100G transmissions over a distance of up to 30 km, using the technology of wave multiplication (WDM) based on a 200 GHz grid. The company has already introduced 8 channel solutions and continues research to double this number.

The detector technology used in the QSFP28 100G O-Band transceiver brings another innovative feature – the wideband receiver. Thanks to this, transceivers can be used in both single and dual fibre applications and help make migration from lower speeds to 100G easier.

“5G and 6G network base stations are currently built using 10G and 25G connection, but due to increasing data demand we will soon need to upgrade those connections to 100G,” said Marcin Bala, CEO of Salumanus. “One way to do so in an effective and economical way is though multiplexers and modules based on O-band. The products we offer can cover distances of up to 30 km, while providing the required passive infrastructure for easier management and lower energy consumption.”

Similarly, O-band will benefit small and medium-sized data centers and ISP operators, which currently rely on multiple 10G connections. An O-band implementation is a real alternative for easy migration in these cases.

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