The advent of 5G wireless makes the Internet of Things and ubiquitous connectivity the reality for tomorrow. This has been the driving force behind many of the network innovations for decades. Today’s networks, both mobile and fixed, can deliver meaningful bandwidths of 20-50Mb/s to the end user, which can support most individual needs currently. Looking ahead, only the advent of 5G wireless services will provide the mobile bandwidth needed to support meaningful bandwidth and latency for true on demand video, device interconnectivity, data and other services that have been limited by the “last mile”. However, in moving from 4G to 5G, RF signal frequencies increase to increase the total bandwidth in each layer of the network. While 5G provides more bandwidth, the higher frequency signals have less range and less object penetration; therefore, more cell towers, antennas and high speed interconnections.
As an illustration, estimates for China alone are more than 10M new base stations to be deployed over the next three years in the initial deployment, together with upgrades of the backbone and metro/access optical networks. In order to deliver the required bandwidth to the end users in a mobile, high density urban environment, several factors need to be addressed. To work reliably in limited space and across a wide range of environmental conditions, the optics used to interconnect sites for this coming vast network need to be modular, industrial-temperature compatible and compact, yet be energy efficient having low power consumption.
For 5G tower-to-backhaul interconnections, carriers are facing challenges in scaling bandwidth to required levels. Current fiber lengths may be 10 km in length, while existing technology can scale up to 25 Gigabits per second in data rate, but only by shortening the fiber lengths. This speed verses distance tradeoff is illustrated by the fact that fibers are most often already laid out, so shorter runs are not really feasible. Therefore, the solution has to be to improve the interconnect transmitter, or transceiver. Fortunately, NeoPhotonics can provide many options for solving this trade-off, not only for today, but for tomorrow and beyond.
At the heart of an optical transceiver is a laser, but the requirement to perform at higher speeds and longer distances demands higher performances lasers, such Externally Modulated Lasers (EML), which operate at much higher speeds and much longer distances than traditional Direct Modulation Lasers (DML).
NeoPhotonics specializes in high speed and long distance data solutions while sharing design and application knowledge for successful implementations. A design partnership with NeoPhotonics can enable not only new capabilities but also new market opportunities.