5 Types of Optical Fibres for Today’s High-End 5G Networks

The race for faster internet has brought about a boom in technology and infrastructure, and one of the key innovations in this field is the 5G technology, which ensures data transmission speeds that are never experienced before. The key reason for this boom in technology is the invention of optical fibre cables, that brought a revolution in the telecommunications and networking industry.

Fibre optic cables can be considered the backbone of the 5G infrastructure, and the core reason why many companies are throwing their hat in the ring to join the competition of becoming the top 5G service provider. 5G networks are considered to provide more reliable and stronger connections while providing very high speeds with low latency. Once they become mainstream, telecom providers will also be able to extend them to Fibre-to-the-Home connections, or FTTH.

To make sure that 5G networks spread out everywhere, the development of 5G base stations is required to match the higher frequency bands and increase network coverage. By 2025, the expected number of 5G base stations throughout the world will reach around 6.5 million, and this means that there will be an increased demand for fibre optic cables.

While there is still some doubt regarding the 5G network architecture and design, there is no doubt that optic fibre cables will be able to meet the development requirements. In large-scale transmission infrastructures, splicing can be used to ensure long-distance transmission. Let’s have a look at the different types of optical fibres that can support today’s high-end 5G networks.

Bend Insensitive Optical Fibre for Easy 5G Indoor Micro Base Stations

One of the main issues in 5G access network construction is the dense fibre connection between macro base stations and indoor micro base stations. The cabling design also adds to the woes, especially indoor fibre cabling and limited space to accommodate it in. This causes the optic fibre cables to bend, which thus affects the performance of the network.

To curb this problem, manufacturers have come up with Bend Insensitive Optical Fibre, which can be used for 5G indoor micro base stations. These cables offer superior bending performance, and can also be stapled and bent around corners without compromising on performance. Fibre manufacturers have also come up with bend-insensitive fibre (BIF) cables with low loss.

OM5 Multimode Fibre for 5G Core Networks

For 5G service providers, there is a huge emphasis on the fibre optic infrastructure for the data centres where content is stored. The transmission speeds for these data centres are rapidly increasing from 10G/25G, 40G/100G to 25G/100G, 200G/400G. Because of this, there is an increased need for multimode fibre optic cables inside the data centres. However, these multimode optical fibres should be compatible with current Ethernet standards to accommodate future upgradation to 400G and 800G.

For this purpose, the new OM5 multimode fibre is the best option for use in data centres. This type of optic fibre allows simultaneous transmission of multiple wavelengths in the range of 850 nm to 950 nm. It can easily support transmission systems of 100Gb/s, 200Gb/s and 400Gb/s up to 150 metres. While this is suitable for short-distance transmission networks, FOSC (Fibre Optic Splice Closure) can be used to extend the distance.

Micron Diameter Optical Fibres for Higher Fibre Density

There are a lot of complex architectures involved in the installation of 5G bearer networks, one of which is the access layer. One major problem that arises in this regard are the limited existing cable pipeline resources. To make sure that more optical fibres can be accommodated in the limited space, the only solution is to reduce the size and diameter of cable bundles. Manufacturers have come up with innovative 180µm single-mode fibres to meet this requirement. Not only does it save space, but also maintains the 125µm glass diameter. This also makes it more suitable for FTTH applications.

ULL Fibre with Large Effective Area to Extend 5G Link Length

To extend the fibre range as much as possible, 5G fibre optic manufacturers are researching and experimenting with ultra-low-loss (ULL) optical fibre technologies. Major breakthroughs have been made in this regard with the G.654.E optical fibre, which is more advanced than the G.652.D fibre and comes with an increased fibre range and ultra-low-loss features. This will further reduce the non-linear impact of optical fibre and also improve the optical signal-to-noise ratio that is affected by higher signal modulation.

Now, 5G companies and manufacturers are coming up with new types of ULL fibre cables that have high data-rate features and also provide increased reach. This will help network operators meet the growing bandwidth demands without the increased costs. This will also help them to cover longer distances without the need for FOSC (Fibre Optic Splice Closure).

Optical Fibre Cable for Faster 5G Network Installation

When deploying indoor and outdoor 5G network infrastructure, the speed and time taken for installation is a major factor that comes into play. Naturally, this also affects the costs associated with the 5G network installation. For underwater cabling, full-dry optical fibre cable is manufactured, which features dry water-blocking technology to help improve fibre splicing speed during installation. These micro cables are air-blown, and contain high fibre density while also being lightweight and compact. This type of cable can be easily installed in longer ducts with numerous bends and undulations, and it greatly reduces the installation time and manpower. For outdoor fibre cable deployment, special optical cables are used that can’t be bitten by rodents or birds.

Presently, fibre optic cables are the standard and most preferred medium for meeting the requirements for 5G networks. However, it will be a challenge to bear the load of increased bandwidth capacity, lower latency, and complex outdoor deployment, especially for Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service providers. Amid these factors, there is also a myriad of opportunities for optical fibre manufacturers, which will lead to new innovations and inventions.

pervinder khangura

Author pervinder khangura

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