How to reduce the costs of building a 5G network?

The telecommunications industry is reaching again for the O-Band. It makes data transmission more effective and economical.
The solution has enormous potential for the development of connections with the high data rates as well as 5G and 6G networks. New optical modules and multiplexers operating in the O-Band allow reducing the total cost of building a network up to 80 percent.

The length of the optical network in Poland was 421 thousands of km at the end of 2021 according to latest report of the Office of Electronic Communications. And the number of installed telecommunications network nodes increased by 30 thousands during last year. In 2020 based on Emergen Research global fiber optic market value was $ 4.54 billion. Resarch and Markets estimates that by the end of 2030 it will grow to approximately USD 11.2 billion.

O-Band – means original band

Service providers and network operators are looking for solutions to seamlessly upgrade their existing network infrastructure. Looking for effective and economical data transmission solutions, the telecommunications industry is reaching again for the O-band. The solution brings enormous potential to reduce network building costs.

Let's start from the beginning.

The single-mode fiber optic transmission band has been divided into five subbands, labeled "O" (original), "E" (extended), "S" (short), "C" (conventional) and "L" (long).

The O-band is a part of the second transmission window in the range from 1260 nm to 1360 nm. In the mid-70's it was considered the main telecommunication band and used for optical communication. On its basis, lasers and detectors were created. The strength of the O-band is the zero chromatic dispersion, ie signal distortion.

The disadvantage is the higher attenuation, so over time the C-band (around 1550 nm) has become the preferred choice for longer distances, even though we have to compensate chromatic dispersion.

The increasing bit rates forced further changes. The 100G transmission in the C-band could work only for 2-3 km distance. To send the data farther, we need to compensate for the chromatic dispersion. We need to use amplifiers that increase installation costs.

Meanwhile, the chromatic dispersion in the O-band for G652 cables, ie those most often used in Poland and generally in Europe, is close to 0. Thanks to this, 100G transmission up to 30-40 km can be transmitted practically without interference.

Salumanus is the leader

Salumanus, as one of the first companies in the world, has just introduced a complete solution for optical networks based on the O-band. These are GBC Photonics QSFP28 optical modules and multiplexers. The devices have been successfully tested in the Salumanus optical laboratory and have been proven in real network with our customers.

The new GBC Photonics solution that allows to send a multiple of 100G transmission over a distance of up to 30 km, uses the technology of wave multiplication (WDM) based on a 200GHz grid. We already have 8 channels solution available, and continue research to double this number.

Optical modules work with PAM4 modulation and have a wideband receiver. As a result, they can be used for both single and double fiber applications. The great advantage of the O-Band technology is

the fact that it does not require the use of optical amplifiers. The solution consists of passive multiplexers and optical modules in the QSFP28 form factor, which can be installed directly in network devices.

Apart from technological advantages, savings are important. New optical modules and multiplexers operating in the O-band guarantee a reduction in network building costs by about 50%, and the TCO, i.e. the total cost with 5-year maintenance, by about 80%.

Towards 5G / 6G and metaverse

The United States Telecomm Association calculated that global internet protocol traffic in 2021 was approximately 79,640 petabytes per month. This is an unimaginable number that keeps growing. Analysts of the Office of Electronic Communications estimate that in Poland in 2026 81% of mobile Internet users will use 5G technology.

Solutions based on the O-band can play an important role in connecting 5G and 6G base stations. Currently, we are still building them using 10G, and sometimes 25G connections. It is certain that soon we will need uprage those connections to 100G. GBC Photonics modules and multiplexers are perfect solution to achieve this goal. Firstly, it covers a distance of up to 30 km, and secondly, it enables the maintenance of a passive infrastructure between the 5G / 6G base station and the aggregation device. The passive infrastructure provides greater network simplicity, easier management and lower energy consumption.

Similarly, O-Bands will benefit small and medium-sized Data Centers and ISP operators, which today rely on multiple 10G connections. An O-band solution is a real alternative and easy migration for them.

Another leap in terms of bandwidth changes and delays will probably be forced by metaverse. Although even Meta admits that it does not yet know exactly what the requirements will be for networks, it is certain that a stable and high-speed network infrastructure is the basis for development. Investments are necessary, but it is worth choosing not only effective but also economic solutions.

Marcin Bała
CEO Salumanus
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