Given how expensive optical equipment is these days, it is laughable to even suggest that we will have local area networks based on optical networking technologies. But in not so near distant future it is going to be a distinct reality.
Japanese giants Fujitsu and Mitsui have formed a new start-up, QD Laser, ,to explore opportunities in quantum dot lasers. The technology was developed by Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Laboratories, and Professor Yasuhiko Arakawa’s laboratory at the University of Tokyo.
Quantum dots are a “single nanometer” semiconductor particles, and can be used as the basis of Quantum Dot Lasers, which are said to be far superior to conventional lasers. They have the ability to work over longer distances and can also support higher speeds. The Japanese companies contend that the QDLs will become light sources for optical networks, and will eventually find their way into optical access and local area networks. What really is strange about this deal is that the companies are investing about 290 million yen, which works out to about $2.5 million.
7 thoughts on “Optical LANs Are Coming”
Om, sorry but I have a hard time believing this will happen any time soon. The primary reason? Cabling.
I work in the IT Consulting business and I’ve seen my fair share of companies pushing Gigabit Ethernet over fiber, or back in the day, 100BaseFX. The problem is the requirement for glass to every desk. It’s expensive and requires a forklift upgrade, usually. We’re talking replacement of all of the cabling and all of the switching serving an area/floor.
Another big problem with changing cabling…glass doesn’t support Power Over Ethernet. From what I’m seeing, POE is going to be a bigger deal than getting 10Gb Ethernet to the desktop. VoIP solutions WANT POE. No one is begging for 10GE.
Lastly, 99.9% of the business users out there don’t take advantage of their 100BaseTX copper connection. When I perform network reviews the utilized bandwidth is almost comical. Like, less than 1% for most users. And IF someone is really taxing a 100mbit connection there’s always GE over CAT5E or CAT6, which is what new installations are getting these days.
Fiber to the desktop? Not for a good 20-30 years, if ever.
Forgot to mention, what this could be really good for is closet to core backhaul or Metro Ethernet applications. Lowering the cost for Metro Ethernet can only be a good thing.
I wonder how it fits into WDM though.
Wireless for end-users is here to stay, and will only get faster. POE will be great for other infrastructure situations where power is needed. Nano-lasers will be able increase capacity of optical media, and also would make really spiffy holograms.
Now, if optical storage devices, “Cubes”, mature a little more…
Well… That is not entirely correct. I can not locate the website right this second, but power over fiber is a reality, now. Do a search for “power over fiber” and you will see that JDS just purchasd the company that first created power over fiber in 1989. They have a device today that can supply .5 watts of power to an end device. The same amount as power over ethernet.
I agree that Wireless is hot in the LAN. I see more of an automatic switching ability between wired and wireless becoming more intuitive. OS X goes a long way with this, with Windows, as usual, being the slacker. I still don’t see wireless being the primary connection for a while.
I’ve heard about POF. .5 watts is meager. 802.3af which is the standard for POE specifies several levels of power from a minimum of 4 watts. Not .4 watts. Current max spec is 15.4 watts. I can see a time when laptops are trickle charged over POE which will require even greater wattage. POF has a long way to go to get to those levels.
Just found this link:
Holy smokes! Launching 5 watts just to pull .5 out at the other end! Let’s hope it improves.