Feature - Part 2: Optical networking R&D
Predicting the future is a foolhardy endeavour, at best one can make educated guesses.
Ioannis Tomkos is better placed than most to comment on the future course of optical networking. Tomkos, a Fellow of the OSA and the IET at the Athens Information Technology Centre (AIT), is involved in several European research projects that are tackling head-on the challenges set to keep optical engineers busy for the next decade.
“We are reaching the total capacity limit of deployed single-mode, single-core fibre,” says Tomkos. “We can’t just scale capacity because there are limits now to the capacity of point-to-point connections.”
The industry consensus is to develop flexible optical networking techniques that make best use of the existing deployed fibre. These techniques include using spectral super-channels, moving to a flexible grid, and introducing ‘sliceable’ transponders whose total capacity can be split and sent to different locations based on the traffic requirements.