OFC2020: How has fiber optic communication changed us?

In OFC 2020, the most exciting moment must be the commermorative event. Fifty years ago, two breakthrough technologies that laid the foundation for this year’s optical communications were born: low-loss optical fiber and room-temperature semiconductor lasers. For the first time in the past 20 years, OFC arranged a special celebration after the morning conference speech. David F. Welch, Chief Innovation Officer of Infinera, who will lead the audience to recall the 50 years of optical fiber communications and look forward to the future of optical communications.

The theme of David Welch’s speech is “How the future began?”.

Photo from OFC

Here are some important innovations in the history of optical communications.

1970 16dB/Km Fiber and continuous working semiconductor lasers
1976 1500nm window, A further reduction in loss to 0.2 dB
1978 Progress in materials, Manufacturing experience, Fiber becomes a commodity
Throughout the 1970s, it was also the arrival of the network age, Ethernet, TCP 802.3
1984 1300nm, For the first time, implement 400Mbps communication between New York and Washington
1987 EDFA 1480pump
1988 TAT-8, Transoceanic Cable, 276Mbps per fiber, proposed by SONET
1991 EDFA 980 pump
1995 DWDM
1996 10G DWDM commercialized, Skype launched
2004 Photon Integration commercialized, Google IPO, Facebook launched
2005 Digital CD Compensation commercialized, Youtube launched
2006 Gridless LCOS WDM demo AWS launched
2008 40G Coherent, Netflix launched
2010 100GbE
2011 Openflow SDN, 25% Intel server chips in large data centers

Today, how do we look forward to the future of fiber optic communications. In the past 50 years, we have seen that the bandwidth has became wider and wider, and human-human & human-machine communication has grown to a very high level. The next turning point is machine-machine communication. The first is the data center interconnection, then the Internet of Things. Today, almost all of the largest US companines by assets are data companies. So what does data mean? This will no happen if there is no fiber optic communication. It can be said that the development of the Internet redefines fear, redefines national boundaries, redefines currency, and redefines government and financial rules. No other technology has a greater impact on human society, politics, and the economy than fiber optic communications.

Looking to the next generation of optical communications, there are two parallel universes. One is radio frequency (RF) from QAM to point-to-multipoint, and the other is business level from circuit switching(CS) to point-to-multipoint. Both have influenced optical communications in the past, such as PON, QAM and coherent. The next is how optical communication can directly implement point-to-multipoint without the need for electric conversion.

The innovation of optical communication lays the foundation of Ethernet and the foundation of today’s social transformation. Without human interaction, humans cannot survive. Technology can’t change this, it can only improve the human interaction experience.

Article source: c-fol.net

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