Telecommunications: optical solutions and the connectivity that makes the world go round

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The pandemic that struck the world two years ago forced societies to face an unprecedented challenge in terms of communication: to stay connected despite the distance that separated us. The world was active thanks to the technology and optical cables that travel along the entire planet by land and underwater to provide connectivity.

Fiber optics was undoubtedly the silent hero during this time. Since quarantine began in March 2020, telecommunications infrastructure has largely eased the necessary adaptation to the dramatic changes we all experienced, as well as amplified the modern world’s interaction with technology.

A Research & Markets study noted that the compound annual growth rate for the fiber optic market will reach 8.5 percent per year by 2025, meaning that more and more industries will seek to incorporate the solutions and benefits offered by this connectivity technology.

In industrial infrastructure, whether in health, manufacturing, mining, among others, fiber optic cable became a key component to provide accessibility and quality connection with different solutions considering the characteristics of each case.

What is the actual capacity of this type of technology and what would its range be?

Fiber optic cables consist of one or more thin strands of glass, protected by a transparent and flexible sheath. Instead of using electrical pulses to transmit information, this technology uses light pulses. As a result, its performance capabilities are virtually unlimited.

There are countless applications for fiber optic cables and the possibilities are still growing. This is due to its characteristics, which include the fact that they are extremely safe. Since it does not contain an electromagnetic field, the transmitted data cannot be intercepted, slowed down or crossed with other signals. The speed and safety provided by fiber optics make it a competitive material despite its high cost compared to other market options.

Essential fiber optics

During the pandemic, access to telecommunications services was declared essential as it facilitated the work, study, entertainment and daily activities of society. Telecommunication networks were instrumental in collecting, managing and disseminating medical information. On the other hand, this technology was also critical for shipping and material handling logistics, and other phenomena that increased due to pandemic safety protocols.

In addition, telecommunications networks experienced an increase in load and traffic due to Covid-19. Working from home was an example of this phenomenon, and the shift from classroom education to virtual education also increased data consumption and transmission. On the other hand, quarantine also led to an increase in the use of Internet apps: social media, videoconferencing services, online games and entertainment videos.

Operators recognized that network usage has increased and, with it, bandwidth requirements also increased. This involved activating more fibers and wavelength channels, which in turn contributed to the continued demand for cable sets and other products that incorporated fiber terminations.

Looking back 20 to 30 years ago, the demand for optical cables and components has increased with significant annual growth rates, often over 10%. The fiber optic markets in general grew faster than other industries, even during economic recessions. For all these reasons, fiber optics is proving to be an asset not only of great importance for the new world ahead of us, but it has become the essential input and factor that provides us with the backbone that will keep humanity moving forward, whatever the crises we face today and in the future.

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