A World Without Wires: A Look at the Worldwide Fiber Infrastructure




A World Without Wires:

A Look at the Worldwide Fiber Infrastructure


Written by Jeff Dominique, Chief Instructor

FNT Training & Consulting


In the immortal lyrics of Louis Armstrong, I think to myself what a wonderful world, mankind never ceases to amaze me with technological developments.


But… what would the world look like without wires? Wireless technologies hold a lot of potential for conveniently reaching endpoint devices, but wireless systems like DAS and WiFi require a fiber connection to handle the bandwidth needed to connect large groups of users. In fact, it is incredibly rare today for a communication of any kind (phone, text, email, or data) to reach its destination without being converted to an optical signal and passing through at least one fiber cable. Trunk fiber cables stretch across our entire planet connecting continents, countries, cities, businesses, cell phone towers and most recently, our homes. It is the backbone of our communication infrastructure and without fiber optic technology, the bandwidth, security and reach of information is greatly hindered.     

    

Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON), coupled with advancements in the end user connectivity, enables us to interface directly with the incoming light speed signal from the service provider.  All over the country, the push is on to land fiber connectivity, right to your doorstep and a battle is raging between CATV, telephone and internet providers to become that GPON provider.  It’s hard to say at this point, who will win the battle, but one thing is for sure, the true winner is you.


Imagine a world, where there is no need to install thousands of feet of expensive copper cabling throughout your house or business.  Just one incoming GPON fiber line with nearly unlimited bandwidth and a receiver box that converts everything (phone, internet, television, security and fire systems, home automation and so on) and you’re in business, with absolutely zero inter-building cabling and nothing more than a small electrical power cable to your desktop. Developments in fiber bandwidth and wireless encryption are making this not so distant world a reality. 

 

No matter who you are or what industry that you work in, fiber optics and their rapid evolution play a very important role in your personal and business life.


Automotive and transportation industries have been using fiber optics for years, but with the recent developments in smart traffic management, smart intersections, self-driving cars and collision detection/ prevention, things are about to get more intense with the use of fiber optics.  Today, there are typically six to twelve fibers terminated at a smart intersection, but only a small percentage of urban intersections can be considered truly smart ready.  In the near future, when automobiles begin directly communicating with intersections, as proposed by IHSDM, the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model, all intersections will have to be updated with more fiber cable and the new interactive communication technology.


Industrial Process Controls represent probably the slowest migration to fiber optics of all industries.  Today we find fiber optics prevalent in SCADA, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems.  These systems are used in industries such as oil and gas, well water management and waste water treatment systems.   Basically, networks that by specific geographic logistics, make connecting test and measurement equipment far more difficult without the use of fiber cable.


Recently, the chip manufacturers have launched a drive toward "Board Level Optics”, a concept that will revolutionize how we connect in the very near future and it all points to GPON.  With board level optics, concerns of heat in computer components and data centers is greatly reduced. We can avoid converting signals between electrical and optical when moving information from your PC to a network connection greatly increasing the transmission speeds.


From aerospace to space exploration and ocean science to deep earth exploration (the other great unknowns), we have a lot to learn about our wonderful world and our immense universe.


FNT has been playing an active role for the past 20+ years, in the research and development of fiber optic based technology so that we can reach to the stars, make history in the depths of the ocean and explore well below the crust of the earth to what lies in the great unknown.  Fiber optics are so important in such endeavors, because they can instantly transport millions of data points and remarkable video quality signals for hundreds of miles with an extremely  small and light weight circuit.


From street corners to entire city networks, low profile structures to high rise buildings, hydro dam to nuclear power, high above the ground to deep below the surface, factories to smart transportation networks, robotics to building automation and beyond, FNT has been there and done that.


On your next big or seemingly impossible project near or far, let FNT be your Research and Development Team for feasibility studies, system design-build, fiber optic equipment supply and installation or integration services.  We have been experts in the field of fiber optics and dedicated to progress in this industry since the first fibers were laid across the U.S. in the early 1990’s.





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