Submarine cable with multicore fiber tested in Japan

The first test of an uncoupled four-core fiber submarine cable was carried out in Japan and achieved speeds four times higher than those made possible by normal submarine cables.

The test was carried out by NEC Corporation, through its subsidiary OCC Corporation and Sumitomo Electric Industries, state that “the cable’s optical transmission performance in water fully meets the demanding requirements of modern long-haul submarine cables. They also showed that Sumitomo Electric’s multicore fiber cabling process has no effect on its optical characteristics, achieving excellent attenuation properties.”

Features of the submarine fiber cable multicoreCabo submarino com fibra multicore testado no Japão

Conventional singlemode fiber has a single core within an individual fiber. In contrast, each multicoreCabo submarino com fibra multicore testado no Japão fiber contains multiple cores (4 cores in this case). This represents a fourfold increase in the number of spatial channels for the same amount of optical fibers and the same fiber structure: each fiber has 250µm in diameter (0,10mm) after coating.

The 4-core uncoupled fiber is being deployed inside the OCC SC cable500 LW series (ultra light), which has an outer diameter of 20mm and supports 8. meters of water depth. This cable can accommodate up to 40 fibers. With multicore fiber, the number of cores can be increased without increasing the cable diameter, with corresponding benefits in the cost per bit of the cable system.

Data usage at the international level is expected to increase by 32-40% in terms of the Composite Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the period of 2020-2026, driven by factors such as the growth of 5G mobile data, and the need to share more and more content between data centers around the world.

To meet this demand, subsea networks are to adopt spatial division multiplexing (SDM) technology, where the number of independent spatial channels is increased to maximize total system capacity, reduce power consumption and optimize cost per bit. It is now expected that fiber multicore will further increase the number of parallel fiber optic cores, without increasing the size and structure of the submarine cable, allowing for a second generation of SDM systems submarines.

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