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Why optical wavelength multiplexing is like music to 5G ears


Increasingly, mobile network operators are under pressure to get 5G service offerings into the hands of their customers. To do that, operators need to get the right optical pipes in place to support 5G. But what if, before spending CAPEX to install new fiber, operators could get more from the fiber already running throughout their networks? With wavelength division multiplexing, they can.

Currently, most optical fibers carry one wavelength of data. This is where multiplexing can make a difference. With dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) and the right network transmission equipment, operators can take existing fiber installs and substantially improve their capacity using multiple wavelengths, up to 100 wavelengths on a single fiber in specific cases. Operators can better use the infrastructure they already own and avoid having to string up or trench out a lot of new cable for 5G. This delivers a surge in bandwidth capacity over existing fiber plant to help reduce the cost of 5G deployment. Historically, the prohibitive cost of DWDM meant that it was limited only to core networks. Optical integrated functionality and reduction in component costs have helped make this technology more affordable, bringing it out of the core and into the access.

In this episode, Maury Wood, EXFO’s Business Development Manager, North American Key accounts, talks next-gen transceivers, CWDM and DWDM in networking and the important role of wavelength multiplexing, and its associated technology, can play in keeping network transformation costs in check.

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