FIBER NETWORK SERVICES:
DRIVING THE DIGITAL AGE
A connected world, dominated by a network of smart devices is where we are headed. We lead digital lives, even beyond work, be it the way we shop, bank, or entertain ourselves. Internet, today, is a utility, much like electricity or water. It has pervaded life to an extent that its presence is expected to be ubiquitous, while its absence disrupts life.
Internet being the driving element of a modern-day economy, its reach within a country is directly proportional to the development of the country. As per the World Bank, there is a 1.3% increase in the GDP of a developing nation, for every 10% increase in broadband penetration. This is why countries across the globe are actively investing in broadband technologies and establishing national broadband policies to drive the proliferation of internet. For instance, Australia established a National Broadband Network (NBN) plan in 2005 to enhance internet connectivity, leading to Australia ranking 3rd in wireless broadband penetration. Further, the NBN is expected to reach 93% of homes by 2021 using fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service. South Korea, the leader in broadband speeds, has FTTH subscribers of over 60%, a result of its policy called Ultra Broadband convergence Network (UBcN). The UBcN aims to reach 1 Gbps speed on fixed lines and 10 Mbps on wireless.
As it has been established that the internet plays a substantial role in the economic and social growth of a country, it only makes sense that internet technologies that support faster and more internet be encouraged. And this is where fiber internet comes into the picture.
WHAT IS FIBER NETWORK ENGINEERING?
Fiber internet is a result of advancements in optical engineering services. Optical engineering services deals with applications of optics i.e. light. So, unlike traditional broadband internet, fiber internet uses light as a method of transmitting data, making it part of a fiber-optic communication system.
Fiber optic communication is a method used to transmit telephone signals, internet communication, and cable television signals by sending pulses of light through an optical fiber. These optical fibers are cables either made of glass or plastic.
In the case of traditional broadband internet, where metal cables are used (usually copper) data is transmitted electrically, making it susceptible to electrical interference, issues in wiring, and corrosion of the copper wire over long distances. On the other hand, fiber internet, which is provided through data carried over light waves, is much faster, and prone to less interference. Fiber optic cables can carry more data as they have greater bandwidth, and data can be transmitted digitally (computer data), as opposed to analogically. Thus, fiber internet is a welcome development in broadband technology that can truly support the rapid expansion of internet across the globe.
Fiber Optics Shaking Up Competition
A great case for fiber optics/fiber internet is Reliance Jio’s offering. The Jio network is an all data and 4G network. Thus, even voice calls are routed over the 4G network; and fiber optics plays a role in making this happen. VoLTE technology (Voice over LTE) treats the calls as any other data that is received or sent by your phone, thereby, ensuring faster calls, HD quality, and better data usage. On a VoLTE network, calls are broken down into data packets, which then travel over a packet-switched network, unlike traditional calls, which use circuit-switching. Optical fibers are used to create a packet-switched network which is entirely managed using computer servers. Thus, Jio is able to provide voice and data at rates that are shaking up the competition. In fact, despite being a new player, Jio is second only to Airtel, industry incumbent, when it comes to fiber coverage. With respect to fiber in the ground, Airtel has a reach of 210 thousand kms, whereas Jio has 190 thousand kms.
BENEFITS OF FIBER NETWORK
The rate of adoption of the internet across the world, from the time it was made available to the common man, makes it one of the fastest spreading technologies. As of June 2017, nearly 52% of the world’s population is estimated to be connected to the internet; and the increase has been nearly 1000%, over a period of 17 years. With the benefits that fiber internet brings, one can expect adoption rates to grow exponentially, and over a much shorter time period.
Improved Speed – Fiber internet provides much higher speeds, far more than the fastest internet connection enabled by copper cables. Fiber internet speeds can vary between 5 Mbps to 100 Gbps. Further, fiber internet supports equal upload and download speeds, thus, data travels much faster. High-speed internet connection is important because poor connectivity can affect employee productivity and morale. A 2013 Sandisk study found that slow internet led to employees losing one week per year of productivity. The monetary implication of slow internet is significant too; Amazon has estimated that a slow page load of just one second could result in $ 1.6 billion in lost sales, annually.
Better Security – An IBM study reported that the 2017 global average cost of a data breach is $ 3.6 billion. Cables that provide internet in the case of traditional broadband can be hacked through a number of simple ways, including cable tapping and signal interception. Fiber optic cables that provide internet are for more secure, as they can only be penetrated by physically cutting the fibers. While fiber internet doesn’t solve all of a company’s data security issues, it definitely provides a much higher degree of protection against data theft, as compared to regular internet cables.
More Reliable – A fiber internet connection is far more reliable. This is due to the fact that fiber optic cables are stronger than copper cables. They can withstand severe weather conditions, fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and electrical interference, far better. Further, as data is transmitted through light, latency (delay in data transmission from one point to another) is much lesser than in the case of other signals.
Cost-effective – Up front, fiber internet might be a costlier investment up over copper internet, but, in the long-run it provides substantial cost benefits. Faster speed alone is an important advantage, as it improves productivity, and enables uninterrupted access to cloud services, thereby reducing a company’s dependence on costly physical servers. Fiber internet requires less maintenance due to upgrades and updates happening automatically, without the need for hardware changes.
Scalable – Fiber internet is capable of much higher bandwidth than other broadband connections, without causing a decrease in speed. Also, in the case of fiber internet, as your company grows, and your internet speed and bandwidth requirement increases, they can be easily enhanced without any changes in hardware. Additionally, fiber internet can support multiple devices, without a decrease in internet speed and efficiency. Thus, fiber internet provides easy flexibility and scalability.
THE FUTURE OF FIBER NETWORK ANALYSIS AND OPTIMIZATION
Fiber internet is the future of connectivity. Much like mobile broadband, which penetrated rural towns and villages across the globe before fixed broadband, areas currently not being served by traditional fixed broadband can skip this step entirely, and directly get fiber internet. The Digital India initiative is one such example. Through a fiber optics network, the Indian government plans to supply internet across the country, thereby, bridging the gap between rural and urban India, with respect to digital competence.
Fiber internet will soon become the norm, as governments all over the world are implementing broadband policies and undertaking initiatives to increase internet penetration. Through cross-sector collaboration, fiber optic cables can be installed in the ground along with other infrastructure projects like transport, energy, water, and gas. According to the World Bank, this can lead to savings of 70-90%.
No matter the future developments in hardware or technology, fiber optic cables will be able to support them. They are not about to become obsolete anytime soon, rendering fiber internet a long-term sustainable solution.
The Fiber network services includes fiber network analysis, fiber network consultation, fiber network engineering, fiber network migration, fiber network optimization, fiber network deployment and fiber network analysis and optimization.