Are We Ready for the Exabyte Tsunami?

Not Without Network Enhancements and Standards, Industry Leaders Say

October 23, 2009

5 Min Read
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ELGIN, Ill., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The consensus of more than 30 telecom industry executives participating in an executive roundtable hosted by DSM is that today's broadband network infrastructure is not prepared for future bandwidth demands and that substantial performance enhancements and new standards are necessary to support the next generation of bandwidth-hungry applications.

Participants in the Designed for the Future Executive Roundtable - representing communications service providers, infrastructure vendors, fiber optic cable and optical fiber makers, industry association leaders, academics and media - addressed the ability of incumbent networks to support future bandwidth demand, what is and will be creating that demand, and the risks associated with not embracing industry standards. Designed for the Future was held Sept. 29th during the FTTH 2009 Conference in Houston, Texas.

"It is no secret that the network infrastructure in the U.S. is aging while applications are evolving beyond what the basic design network can ultimately support," said Rob Crowell, Vice President Fiber Optic Materials, DSM Desotech. "The question is 'How do we ensure the network is prepared to support rich applications, such as IPTV, which consumers are experimenting with today and will consume much more of in the future with minimal latency and disruption and less energy consumption?"

At the roundtable, Crowell set the stage by citing a report on bandwidth demand from the Cisco's Global Consumer Internet Traffic Forecast, which states that bandwidth demand will exceed 15 exabytes per month by 2011 and pass 30 exabytes per month by 2013. The group was charged with identifying the opportunities, obstacles and solutions to meeting that demand.

The roundtable concurred that optical fiber is the way forward to realizing true broadband potential. It was noted that increasing bandwidth demands will necessitate opening up new transmission windows in the L band, potentially up to 1625 nm, and that older-generation optical fiber running in many broadband networks will not be adequate to support those transmissions.To get to the heart of whether or not the right infrastructure is in place to support future bandwidth demand, the group outlined four key areas in which applications are currently driving and will continue to create even greater demand for broadband: entertainment, education, medicine and mobile.

On the entertainment front, video was identified at the top of the list of bandwidth-demanding applications. The group noted that the new 3-D HD video applications which are expected to be commercially available in 2010 will require 160Mbps downstream speed. Developmental applications such as Ultra High HDTV, Quad HD, and Holographic Video will also require far more bandwidth than even the highest resolution HDTV today. Upstream speeds will become more important as today's Internet users seek to share and store more content.

In education, remote learning and virtual classrooms aided by real-time collaboration systems, online content storing and sharing systems, and telepresence platforms will offer many more students access to top universities, while giving them the same learning experience as a student sitting in the classroom.

Making this a reality will require significant broadband infrastructure and robust networks capable of handling an ever growing amount of traffic.

Telemedicine, in particular teleradiology, medical telematics and remote tele-conferencing were cited as healthcare applications that will require massive amounts of data transmission, which will have to be supported by fast, reliable networks.In the mobile arena, the emergence of "superphones," such as the Apple iPhone and Google G-1, is creating a demand for mobile data and entertainment that will grow mobile bandwidth requirements tenfold. Analysts estimate that mobile carriers will need 90,000 Gbps of capacity in the last mile of the backhaul network by 2014.

Given the costs of optical network deployment and the life-cycle expectations of 20 to 30 years in the field, defects and field failures represent a risk too high to ignore. Consideration for the development of standards is warranted not only to protect those making the network investment, but also to ensure that viable network structures are being put in place worldwide that will be able to sustain bandwidth requirements that are as yet unknown.

"The goal of the roundtable discussions we have hosted both in China and the U.S. is to hone in on solutions and a collective path forward," said Crowell. "At DSM, we are developing coatings that will ensure durability, performance and sustainability of fiber-optic networks. Our hope is that we can get understanding and alignment within the industry to ensure a dynamic network that is prepared for any consumer or enterprise innovation imaginable."

To learn more about this Designed for the Future roundtable discussion, please visit To download the full report,
About DSM Desotech
DSM Desotech is the world's leading developer of UV-curable optical fiber coatings, a critical component of high-speed optical fiber networks. With more than 40 years experience in fiber coatings development, the company holds more than 120 U.S. patents in UV-curable technology, with other patents in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Australia and Canada. DSM Desotech operates globally, with research and manufacturing facilities located in the U.S., Europe, China and Japan. It is headquartered in Elgin, Ill., USA. DSM Desotech is a business unit of DSM Resins, based in the Netherlands, and is part of the global DSM family - a world leader in life sciences and material sciences. More information can be found at:
About DeSolite Supercoatings(TM)
DSM's newest generation of fiber coatings, DeSolite Supercoatings(TM), has been engineered to significantly improve microbending sensitivity at the fastest processing speeds, ensuring the best economy of high speed production and superior attenuation performance. In standard basket-weave testing, DeSolite Supercoatings(TM) display 90% less sensitivity to microbend attenuation -- a performance advantage critical for today's new FTTx designs, especially at the longer wavelengths of 1625nm. In addition to improved microbending sensitivity, DeSolite Supercoatings(TM) demonstrate high reliability in temperature extremes, ensuring a robust solution especially in low temperature environments. Other enhanced performance properties include reduced volatility, faster cure speed and advanced mechanical properties.
About DSM - the Life Sciences and Materials Sciences Company
Royal DSM N.V. creates innovative products and services in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences that contribute to the quality of life. DSM's products and services are used globally in a wide range of markets and applications, supporting a healthier, more sustainable and more enjoyable way of life. End markets include human and animal nutrition and health, personal care, pharmaceuticals, automotive, coatings and paint, electrical and electronics, life protection and housing. DSM has annual net sales of EUR 9.3 billion and employs some 23,500 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in the Netherlands, with locations on five continents. DSM is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information can be found at:

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