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Roger's Equations

This blog is all about science and technology (with occasional math thrown in for fun). The goal of this blog is to try and pass on the sense of excitement and wonder I feel when I read about these topics. I hope you enjoy the posts.

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The Fiber Optic Future

Posted July 20, 2005 3:22 PM by Bayes

The most important thing you need to know about fiber optics is this:

The theoretical bandwidth limit of an optical fiber is somewhere between 50 Tbps and 100 Tbps.

If you have a cable modem in your house, congrats, you're downloading data at a blistering 5 Mbps. A single optical fiber could theortically download 10 million times more data per second, though in reality expect more like 1000 times (5 Gbps) for now. Clearly fiber is a significant improvement over cable or phone wire.

Now I know it's hard to imagine ever needing a Terabit per second of bandwidth. Then again, before MP3s, who could ever imagine needing 160GB hard drives? I can imagine a need for a Terabyte hard drive now. No way I could in 1995. Still, how could we ever need that much bandwidth?

Well, imagine the web as a interactive visual medium. Websites as intricate visual experiences rather than the read and click of today. Websites that require a browser to download 10 to 100 times the amount of data that is required today. Now multiply that by hundreds of millions (at least) of daily worldwide users. Add on streaming interactive HDTV video, music, and games and you've got a huge demand for bandwidth.

Don't get me wrong, it will be a wireless world as well, but wireless has serious bandwidth constraints. Somewhere in your house, office, etc. there will have to be a fiber optic connection to get the good stuff.

Fiber Optics is coming, have no doubt, like a freight train.

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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1055
#1

Fiber

07/26/2005 11:23 AM

The leader in the FTTH race looks to be EPON, it's cheap and it's passive. At least when I was building them =)

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