BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
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34 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MARCH/APRIL 2016 TECHNOLOGY Increasing Fiber Capacity Without Construction By using more wavelengths on each optical fber, service providers can add bandwidth – and revenues – without adding new fbers. By Tom Warren / Clearfeld Inc. I magine turning a dirt road into a multilane highway without having to perform any new construction. Tat is what wave- division multiplexing (WDM) allows with an existing fber network. Tis technology can greatly reduce the cost of increasing network capacity without having to move a single shovelful of dirt or hang a single new fber. WHY WDM? It's no secret that outside-plant (OSP) fber construction is expensive. Construction costs vary, but they are always hefty, and they increase greatly if cable is buried. In addition to construction, the costs of permitting, zoning, raw materials and splicing are signifcant. Tus, avoiding installing new fber is best whenever possible. Many communications providers are experiencing fber exhaust in their networks. Tis means that the cable counts initially deployed are not able to handle today's needs. Now, emerging technologies in cell backhaul, business class services and others are creating a need for yet more fbers. However, in most cases, ever-increasing labor and material prices make new fber construction too costly to consider for many projects. WDM allows operators to place new equipment at either end of a fber strand and combine multiple wavelength channels on a single fber strand. Many existing systems use only a small amount of the spectrum available on single piece of glass. Using either coarse wave-division multiplexing (CWDM) or dense wave-division multiplexing (DWDM), operators can combine many diferent services on a single fber by assigning a diferent color, or wavelength, to each service. Multiplexers are used to combine all these wavelengths onto a single fber, and demultiplexers are used to separate the colors farther on in the network. Mobile devices, cloud computing, over-the- top video, DOCSIS 3.1 with IPTV, and online gaming are just a few of the drivers for increased bandwidth demand. As demand continues to rise, service providers will need long-term strategies to develop a bigger pipe. Cellular backhaul, FTTx and commercial business services are also creating a need for more fber capacity. 3G and 4G cellular services require more bandwidth than cellular services needed in years past and therefore require a fber link to each cell site. A provider may own Many existing fber networks use only a small amount of the spectrum available on a single piece of glass. WDM allows more of the spectrum to be used.