Skip to main content
Published on

The ever-evolving telecom landscape – the latest trends and how to stay ahead

EXFO held its very first TEST Talks on April 15. TEST Talk 1 asked a key question around what’s happening right now in the telecom industry: The rules are changing: how can we stay in the game?

Stephen Hardy, Editorial Director at Lightwave, and Stephane Chabot, Vice-President Test & Measurement at EXFO, were the guest speakers on hand to tackle that question. The session was moderated by EXFO’s Sophie Legault, Director of High-Speed & T&D Business Unit.

Here’s some context around what’s changing in the telecom landscape: on one end, content service providers have to launch complex transmission technologies and roll out 5G infrastructure buildouts or upgrades while constantly feeding the bandwidth beast. On the other end, network equipment manufacturers and component vendors must embrace a new era of digital transformation while maintaining flexibility and lowering cost pressures.

How is the industry coping with these changes? Stephen made an insightful overview of technology trends that impact design and manufacturing. He talked about the constants such as the need for speed, the need for longer reach and the need to lower power costs before addressing the world of ever-more complex modulation formats and coherent transmissions. He also underlined increased integration at the component and subsystem level, while how the system level is conversely becoming less integrated. For Stephen, automation is becoming key in this complex environment, hence the rise of software which leverage analytics and virtualized functions.

From a testing perspective, Stéphane highlighted the crucial need to find the root cause of issues early on now. This goes for producing transceivers, especially with the advent of co-packaged optics and the boom of photonic integrated circuits. Design for testing (DTF) has become a vital reflex for equipment manufacturers to ensure that each step of the development chain is reliable and to nip any issue in the bud. Stéphane stressed the importance of having end-to-end solutions in a unified testing approach, given current alignment and integration challenges (e.g., capability to test both electrical and optical components). At this point, Stephen took over to add the importance of accuracy when testing at the chip-level and on how it is important to remain flexible in being able to meet custom demands from the industry.

After the panel discussion, attendees were able to join in-depth sessions with subject matter experts.

Four hot topics were on the menu:

  • Why automation is now a MUST in the industry
  • Trends in MSA standards and open architecture
  • Designing for successful tests: learning from software testing
  • Photonics on a massive scale: Tiny PIC for huge impact!

It’s still time to join the conversation by registering to the upcoming TEST Talks on photonic integrated circuits, 400G/800G transceivers and 5G challenges from R&D to field deployment.