As the world evolves so does wireless connectivity. Wireless providers are currently touting 5G network capabilities, but that is not the end. In fact, it’s just the beginning as 6G is already the hot topic of many conversations concerning the future of network deployment. To maintain this level of connectivity, optical infrastructure must last for generations and these networks must be Expandable, Flexible and Accessible to be truly “future-proof.”
Optical fiber is key to this success. It’s a future-proof medium that provides the performance needed by 5G and future generations to achieve full potential. During the 2021 Connect (X) Conference, Seán Adam, VP of Market Strategy and Innovation at AFL, discussed the role that fiber plays in delivering 5G connectivity, the challenges faced and the strategies available for fiber providers and 5G operators.
One of the biggest challenges that we face today is workforce. Due to the lack of skilled labor, it’s essential that manufacturers innovate and develop solutions, for passive and active infrastructure that are easy to use, design and maintain. Modern flexible ribbon, such as Fujikura’s innovative SpiderWeb Ribbon® (SWR®), used in many of AFL’s fiber optic cable designs, provides a level of density, flexibility, accessibility and usability, which helps facilitate engagement, deployments and network futureproofing.
Optical fiber is also extremely reliable. It’s less susceptible to temperature changes, severe weather, moisture and electromagnetic interference (EMI), making this a very secure and dependable medium to transmit information within a network.
Further, as more aspects of our lives shift online – work-from-home, school-from-home, telehealth and more become the “new normal” – optical fiber is positioned as the solution to enabling these activities. However, having the ability to both upload and download information is a requirement to perform these activities. According to Adam, fiber provides “true symmetrical gigabit connectivity,” meaning that fiber is the only medium that can provide equal upload and download speeds, which is critical to enabling 5G (and beyond) wireless technology.
While our focus begins to shift beyond 5G, the need for deep, dense fiber is becoming even more prevalent and creating lasting networks should be a top priority. Fortunately, today’s technology coupled with fiber and 5G wireless connectivity has made this possible by strengthening broadband accessibility.