Prysmian: Bend-insensitive fibre is key for optical nets’ future

Energy and telecom cable systems provider says new fibre technology can significantly reduce bend losses and extend expected network lifetime

Prysmian Group’s latest industry insight says bend-insensitive fibres could be the foundation of the world’s optical networks in the new era of hyper connectivity.

Its Industry insight made the case that bend-insensitive fibres, especially the best-performing G.657.A2, can enable the development of extreme fibre count and reduced-diameter cabling to provide the highest bandwidth capacity in duct installations and minimise losses linked to macrobends and microbends.

It also saw bend resistance as able to extend the expected network lifetime by improving repair resilience and, as such, is beneficial for operators looking to make significant opex savings. Operators will potentially be able to gain access to faster and more stable optical networks, cost-effective and environmentally friendly installations with lower operating costs and increased network lifespan, it said.

Prysmian said it believed that adopting cost-effective and flexible bend-intensive single-mode fibres can secure the entire wavelength spectrum used by current and future passive optical networks (PONs). It added that with bend-insensitive fibres, the integrity of the network infrastructure is secured, stability is increased across all bands and possibilities are opened up for system evolution.

The resilience of bend-insensitive fibres enables manufacturers to design cabling that can support the full use of transmission bands and future-proof higher capacity networks that will often operate outside current standard ranges, it said. Prysmian also saw the use of G.657 fibres that are coated with 200μm and 180μm diameter as able to reduce significantly the dimensions of the cables, while achieving higher fibre density. These reduced-diameter fibres are fully compatible with any G.652 fibre, which makes them easy to insert into an existing network or upgrade parts of existing optical infrastructure.

As fibre networks become more crowded, and space limited, fibre bends are more likely to occur, and therefore preventing power leakage with G.657 fibres is crucial, it said. Bend resistance also allows the use of smaller loop guides when installed and a reduction in the bend radius of splice trays.

“The rising wavelength requirements of PONs and wireless networks drives the need for truly bend-insensitive optical fibres to become an integral part of fibre-to the-X (FTTx) and 5G mobile networks,” said Philippe Vanhille, executive vice-president telecom business at Prysmian Group.

“In the new era of hyper connectivity, it is essential that we increase the capacity of the world’s optical networks and operators must choose to leverage a bend-intensive fibre cabling system that can keep up with new technologies. Operators that take advantage of these fibres, and in particular the G.657.A2, will achieve the most potential from their deployed networks.”

Such new advances could further add to the momentum that the optical comms technology market has seen of late. In August 2021, Netherlands operator Delta Fiber chose Nokia to provide a next-generation high-capacity optical transport network, based on 400Gbps wavelengths as it looked to handle increased traffic and further expansion of its fibre-to-the-home roll-out. The new networks are designed to offer customers enhanced service quality and speeds, and enable a simplified network that increases operational and cost efficiency.

UK provider Openreach is also working with Nokia to conduct the UK’s first-ever tests of what it says is a new full-fibre technology, which it believes could deliver ultra-reliable broadband services that are 10 times faster than today’s UK standard deployments based on 25G PON technology.

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