ADVA leads project boosting optical network capacity

Created December 9, 2019
Applications and Research

ADVA is leading a research project aimed at significantly expanding the capacity of optical metro and core networks. Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the OptiCON project is exploring technologies that will enable fibre infrastructure to carry ten times more throughput than today. ADVA says that with Internet traffic growing on an exponential scale, the project will be key to the expansion of mobile applications at and beyond 5G, and the digital transformation of all areas of life. OptiCON’s goals include leveraging unused optical spectrum, new fibre types and novel transmission schemes, as well as advanced monitoring and SDN control.


Annika Dochhan, principal engineer, advanced technology, ADVA and OptiCON Project Lead

“This project couldn’t be more vital. With optical transmission approaching the Shannon Limit and continual increases in per-channel speeds slowly coming to an end, we’re looking at disruptive ways to expand network capacity in the future. By using untapped spectrum, we can maximise the value of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) networks and tackle soaring data demand from cloud, video and mobile,” said Annika Dochhan, principal engineer, advanced technology, ADVA and OptiCON Project Lead. “OptiCON is about engineering the next-generation of transport networks and empowering operators to keep pace with the exponential traffic growth they are facing. It builds on everything we’ve achieved with our FSP 3000 Open Line System and TeraFlex™ terminal technology, which ensures lowest cost per bit for any network. Now with OptiCON we’re taking fibre transmission to the next level.”

ADVA notes that until now, DWDM transport has been mostly limited to the C- and L-bands of the optical spectrum. By working to overcome longstanding technical and economic hurdles, OptiCON is enabling operators to exploit much more of the available fibre bandwidth, and therefore carry more bits per second. This will be achieved through a combination of technical innovations, including advanced amplifiers, improved fibres, novel transceivers, and new techniques for monitoring and control. The three-year project involves the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, highstreet technologies, the Technical University of Munich and VPIphotonics.

Ronald Freund, head of photonic networks and systems, Fraunhofer HHI.

“Our work in OptiCON is focused on the physical layer and developing optical telemetry. This is crucial to enabling the fine-grained data signal adjustments needed for full capacity optimisation,” added Ronald Freund, head of photonic networks and systems, Fraunhofer HHI. “As a leading research institute for optical transport technology, we have a key role to play in developing the digital society. Working with ADVA and the other partners at the centre of this cutting-edge project is very exciting. Together we’re developing the technology that will form the building blocks of tomorrow’s networks.”

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This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.