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India Mobile Congress 2023: STL says its 160 µm fiber is ‘world's slimmest’...

31 Oct 2023

...and Viavi and Tata Consulting celebrate 25 years’ cooperation in optical network interoperability testing.

STL says its new 160 µm optical fiber is ‘world's slimmest’ Such cables can pack three times more capacity than traditional 250 µm fibers.

STL, an India-based optical and digital solutions developer, has developed what it calls “the world’s slimmest fiber for telecommunications: 160 µm core optical fiber.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology & Railways, unveiled the fiber at STL’s booth at the seventh edition of India Mobile Congress 2023, held last week in New Delhi.

After unveiling the 160 µm fiber, the minister demonstrated splicing two strands of optical fiber to connect the cores of two hair-thin optical fibers.

STL says that cable made with the new 160 µm fiber can pack three times more capacity than traditional 250 µm fiber. The fiber was designed and developed at STL’s Center of Excellence in Maharashtra, making the firm among the first companies globally to develop and patent the technology.

The company stated, “As India becomes the fastest-growing digital economy in the world, there's a need for densely fiberized networks, both in backhaul and closer to customers.

‘Duct space a precious asset’

“Laying ducts account for around 60% of the entire fiber deployment cost, making duct space a precious asset. Network builders all over the globe are in a continued quest to reduce fiber size to pack in more and more capacity in the available duct space.”

By packing more capacity in limited duct space with a reduced diameter cable of 6.4mm (a 32% reduction compared to 250 µm fiber), the 160 µm fiber is expected to “revolutionize” deployment, bandwidth capacity and green quotient of the networks.

The STL statement gave a potential example: “In a large-scale project like Bharatnet, where India needs to deploy around 20 million fiber km of cable by 2025, using 160 µm fiber instead of the standard fiber could potentially reduce the deployment time by 15%. This enables the use of ducts with a smaller diameter, thereby reducing the plastic footprint in the ground by 30%.”

Dr Badri Gomatam, Group CTO at STL, commented, “This slimmest fiber shows our commitment to innovation and continuous R&D efforts in photonics and materials science.”

Some of the key challenges in reducing fiber size below 250 µm include enhanced sensitivity towards micro-bending and increased complexity in the fiber drawing process.

Dr Badri added, “Through highly calibrated process and material engineering, we have achieved a breakthrough in manufacturing processes and glass compositions to realise micro bend insensitivity.”

The new fiber meets telecom-grade optical performance standards and complies with the ITU G.657A2 standard; the announcement comes after a series of innovations by STL, including India’s first multicore fiber with 4X capacity and 180-micron fiber.

Viavi and TCS mark 25 years’ cooperation

Viavi Solutions and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have marked 25 years of collaboration on wireless network test platforms deployed around the globe, beginning with 2G and advancing to end-to-end interoperability of 5G, O-RAN and beyond.

The celebration began at TCS offices in Gurgaon, India, and continued at India Mobile Congress, last week in New Delhi.

The partners stated, “Wireless communications have become the most adopted technology of all time, with 5G projected to achieve eight billion connections by 2028, according to 5G Americas and Omdia.”

Viavi’s TM500 Network Tester has been used to by virtually all Tier-1 network equipment manufacturers, and its O-RAN test suite is claimed to be the only comprehensive portfolio of lab, field and assurance solutions.

Viavi and TCS co-developed an end-to-end test framework for interoperability testing. As part of this co-innovation, TCS built an intuitive technology-agnostic platform, simplifying testing operations and reimagining the user experience for system testers, field engineers and technology partners.

As TCS expands its role in telecommunications networks, the two companies are collaborating on customer projects, from NEMs to Tier-2 OEMs, service providers, and government and service provider labs. They will combine their expertise in wireless technologies including 5G and 6G, cloud, AI/ML and automation.

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