Leading change in optical communications

Feb. 21, 2023
Learn why bandwidth is the topic behind today’s executive discussions.

If we had to pinpoint one technology enabler driving societal evolution today, it would be bandwidth. Virtual and augmented reality, streaming services, social networks, autonomous vehicles, telehealth, data centers, fields including quantum communications and supercomputing, and so much more require ever-increasing bandwidth to sustain their accessibility, efficiency, and impact.

Case in point: As I mentioned previously, Yole Group predicts the optical transceiver market will climb to $24.7 billion USD by 2027. Specifically, they attribute this growth to “high adoption of high-data-rate modules above 400G by big cloud service and national telecom operators requiring increased fiber-optic network capacity.” Looking at it more granularly, if we single out mobile traffic alone, the global monthly average usage per smartphone is expected to reach 19GB in 2023 but rise rapidly to 46GB by 2028, according to Ericsson. Multiply those expectations by Cisco’s predictions of upwards of 3.6 global devices and connections per capita in 2023, and we see why business leaders in the optical communications space are seeking different opportunities to meet these demands.

With this pressing close on Moore’s Law top of mind, technical experts have been testing solutions to not just create stop gaps or temporary fixes, but to truly revolutionize the way optical communications delivers connectivity. While that work continues, business leaders have to augment existing channels to ensure product development and delivery.

So, it comes as no surprise that Optica’s 2023 Executive Forum kicks off with a keynote session focusing on this top-of-mind topic: How will bandwidth keep up? With insights from Mischa Dohler, vice president, emerging technologies at Ericsson, the session will focus on how we get to next-generation internet and what needs to be done to the infrastructure to support it.

And as we investigate this crossroads of technological advancements and business development in support of these capacity considerations, we have to consider a wide berth of critical questions. For example, have we reached a tipping point where coherent dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) technology now makes technical and economic sense at the edge of the network? Do advances in multicore fiber, deployments of space-division multiplexing (SDM), and accessibility of hollow-core fibers introduce new potential? What about other growing, but more niche use cases, like data center requirements, and what’s needed to ensure continued evolution in that growing space?

As optical communications business executives, our work lies in identifying answers to these questions and aligning them with our organizational strategies. How we respond will uniquely depend on company priorities from a growth and development standpoint, where our leading research teams have recognized successes, and how those ultimately will complement our product mix and customer base. Evaluating these criteria helps us in making calculated decisions that speak to our unique strengths as organizations.

But this evaluation can’t be done in a vacuum. Connecting with like-minded leaders in forums where these business strategies will be addressed will give us a more complete picture of today’s thinking. It will help us take the blinders off and open our eyes to the differing ways the optical communications market is responding to increasing capacity and bandwidth requirements.

With that in mind, I invite you to join us at Executive Forum on March 6 in San Diego, CA, during OFC. Leaders grappling with these topics will be presenting their viewpoints and encouraging dialogue to debate where the industry may head. From those conversations, new ideas will emerge to support both the evolution and revolution in optical communications.

Because at the end of the day, we can all agree that change is necessary to respond to the bandwidth needs of the future, but the market ultimately will drive the solutions that will get us to the next level. You want to make sure you’re a part of that decision.

About the Author

Jose Pozo | Chief Technology Officer, Optica

Jose Pozo joined Optica in March 2022, and has spent more than 25 years working in photonics. He earned a PhD in quantum physics from the University of Bristol (U.K.), and an M.Sc. and B.Eng. in telecom engineering from UPNA, Spain / VUB (Belgium). Prior to joining the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) in 2015 as CTO, Jose was a Senior Photonics Technology Consultant with PNO Consultants, with some of the main accounts such as CERN, Thales, and TE Connectivity. He has worked at TNO, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he contributed to the early development of EFFECT Photonics.

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