‘Demand for High-fibre Count Access Cable is on the Rise for 5G’

FTTH can ride all futuristic technologies, including virtual reality, augmented reality and is fully scalable to future connectivity speeds. In a chit-chat with Voice&Data, Dr Badri Gomatam, CTO, Sterlite Tech, talks about the changing trend in FTTH and where does India stand when it comes to optic fibre rollout.

Voice&Data: While there is a lot of demand for G.657.A2 bend-insensitive fibre in France and Middle East, what type of traction do you see in the Indian market?

Badri Gomatam: In Europe, last-mile connectivity through FTTH and related cable applications are getting immense focus in line with connectivity targets of 1Gbps for schools, universities, research centres, and 100 Mbps connections upgradable up to 1Gbps for all households by 2020. In India, the FTTH market is currently in the nascent stage and would fast pick up with major investments post telecom consolidation.

Voice&Data: France has declared G.657.A2 fibre as the standard for indoor cabling and access networks and its goal is to roll out optical fibre across the country by 2025. What are your thoughts on India’s BharatNet program, under which we have just covered 100K gram panchayats with optic fibre?

Badri Gomatam: In Europe, with fibre moving closer and closer to the point of actual consumption, G.657.A2 fibre has become the standard for indoor cabling and access networks as it provides minimal bend loss, is small and fits in tight spaces and is aesthetically pleasing. A2 is indeed the ideal solution to ride high-speed broadband to the last-mile i.e. homes. While in India, the BharatNet programme aims to connect over 2,50,000 villages. Once this project is complete, we may see demand for A2 fibre picking up to further ride smart home, ultrahigh-speed broadband technologies within the premises.

Voice&Data: Do you think some concrete regulations/standards are required in India too?

Badri Gomatam: Standardisation is the need of the hour to ensure high quality of service, bring cost parity as well as ensure long shelf life of deployed networks. Our aspirational goal of universal access to broadband through BharatNet needs critical alignment to performance indicators and meet customer expectations of high quality, high speed and high reliability of network. It is imperative that India takes a fresh look at the overall pace of broadband infra development and the regulatory policy environment to align our broadband performance indicators with global standards.

Voice&Data: FTTH-for-DSL substitution is a major trend picking up globally. What is your take?

Badri Gomatam : FTTH is the end game and future proof. FTTH can ride all futuristic technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality and is fully scalable to future connectivity speeds. While DSL is an interim solution.

Voice&Data: What type of trends do you see in Access and Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) applications this year?

Badri Gomatam: Demand for high-fibre count access cable is continuously increasing to improve connectivity and be future ready for 5G. While for FTTH, we are seeing the trend growing towards more bend insensitive cable designs, including both G657A2 and G657B3 fibre types.

Voice&Data: Indoor cabling for high-speed broadband has specific requirements for minimal bend loss, how is G.657.A2 ensuring that?

Badri Gomatam: For indoor installation, operators need to have very small or compact cable, which in turn requires A2 fibre to maintain the required cable bend radius, without incurring extra loss due to multiple bend during indoor installation and operation.

Indoor cabling usually results in data loss due to multiple bends in the cable. For high-speed broadband, cable should enable minimal bend loss. For indoor cabling in buildings, the cable also needs to be small to be aesthetically pleasing and have the ability to be routed in very tight spaces – all without any loss in data.

Sterlite Tech’s ITU-T G.657.A2 Fibre-Sterlite MICRO BOW-LITETM (E) Single Mode Optical Fibre is an innovative solution for indoor cablings that allows for all of the above requirements. When these fibres are stored with a bend radius of 10mm, the macro-bending loss is 10 to 20 times lower than that of G.652D fibres with the same bend radius. Its insensitivity to bend allows manufacturers to make various compact designs as per the requirements of different networks by maintaining the required cable bend radius during installation as well as operation. This makes the product ideal for market requirement of Access and Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) applications, particularly in-building use and in cables with high fiber counts and lower diameter micro cable.

User benefit: Reduced bend sensitivity also reduces the dependence on perfect fibre bend managed installations and installation practice. This essentially de-risks the installation process, allowing rapid first time right installation with lower skill level installers, and much more compact and simpler installation practice.

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