New coherent modulations and quantum communication network. Multi-core fibre optics, transmission bandwidth expansion in the L-band direction, as well as the use of S-band and E-band, and new types of bismuth-doped amplifiers. Which of these technologies will enter widespread use?
There are as many predictions as there are experts who attended ECOC 2022 in Basel. And the examples listed are just some of the innovations discussed at the conference. However, they all agree on one thing: global fibre-optic transmission will accelerate at an unimaginable rate. Estimates are as high as 50% in the next few years.
ECOC is a mass of knowledge, theory, but also a chance to meet the technological gurus of the optical communications industry. You can't help but feel that it is in places like this that the future of communications is being created and what our lives will look like in a few years or so is being decided.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the use of efficient fibre-optic cables for communications (the history of glass fibre itself dates back to the late 19th century). In 1972, efficient and low attenuation fibre optic cables came into use, over which longer distances can be achieved. By this time, mankind had managed to build tracts over a distance of 5 billion kilometres. This is a distance close to that of the Earth to Neptune. The discovery of modern optical fibres has become a milestone for the telecommunications industry.
Interestingly, two teams, an American and a Japanese team, invented fibres with similar parameters almost at the same time, completely independently of each other. At ECOC, we had the opportunity to hear this amazing story from the inventors themselves. A handshake from Peter Shultz of Corning and Tatsuo Izawa of NTT for a fan of optical communications – is priceless.