According to the latest Global Bandwidth Forecast Service' report by Telegeography, Trans-Atlantic communications links are set to face a bandwidth glut within the next few years.
Says the press release: "According to new projections from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Forecast Service, bandwidth requirements will grow 33 percent (CAGR) between 2008 and 2015. At this rate, trans-Atlantic capacity will be exhausted by 2014, and cables providing diversity along geographically unique routes may run out of capacity even sooner."
For Optical Communications long-timers like myself, this is no surprise. It's simply the center piece of the forthcoming overhaul of the Fiber Optics technology: Today's optical transmission systems are based on a 30+ years old technology. That's far enough, for the singlemode fiber which is used in backbones since the mid 80's is reaching its limits with the 40G and (worst) the 100G systems planned by some telcos around the planet.
Telegeography analysts state it clear: "While 2014 is 5 years off, lengthy cable financing and construction cycles mean that carriers must confront this challenge far sooner. New technologies, such as 40 Gbps transmission line rates, may allow operators to expand capacity on some existing systems, delaying the need for new cables. However, these technologies remain unproven on a commercial long-haul submarine cable, and will only postpone the inevitable day of reckoning."
As I already wrote several times here and there, my take is that a brand new fiber technology will leave the labs' s clean rooms to show up on optical systems vendors' s shelves as soon as massive deployments of FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home networks will be over. 2014-2015 seems to be the timeframe for that. (Not) surprisingly, 2014-2015 is also the time when submarine systems will have to be revamped.
For those of you who were not in the Optical Communications business in the 80's, I tell you what: submarine systems have always been the test bed for new technologies, from the SMF Singlemode Fiber itself to WDM Wavelength Division Multiplexing and Optical Amplifiers. It won't be different this time. Five years to go before the big change!