UK telecoms provider trials new type of optical fibre

The leading UK telecoms provider BT is trialling a new type of optical fibre that could prove to be key to better 5G network speeds.

The technology that runs in the background is called hollow core fibre.

Compared to its regular counterpart, it allows for a 50% faster data transfer, as noted by Lumenisity, the new tech’s developer.

The tests performed with a 10km-long cable showed a tendency to reduce 5G network latency.

According to Andrew Lord, head of optical network research at BT, the experiments have shown exciting results – however, the fibre cable is not ready for deployment just yet.

To check its robustness, the company has performed all sorts of experimentation on it, including shaking it and putting it in an oven.

Moving forward, a higher bandwidth with low latency can be expected of next-gen networks.

In a typical scenario, network providers would deploy single-mode optical fibre that carries information by transferring light signals through solid strands of glass.

However, data that travels through glass is slower than data travelling through air.

For this purpose, the fibre developed by Lumenisity comes with a hollow centre filled with air.

This allows the data to reach its target destination much faster – in fact, the signals can travel very close to the speed of light.

Whether it’s for operating an IoT or autonomous device, or even gaming, users will be able to enjoy lower latency.

Once it goes live, the prices will be driven down due to an increase in efficiency.

Thanks to lower latency, the new technology would also allow for spacing antennas farther apart.

A restricted number of providers already use hollow core fibre, and earlier this year, Lumenisity partnered with euNetworks, a bandwidth infrastructure provider serving customers in Western Europe.

Its fibre technology powers the London Stock Exchange and allows for high-frequency trading.