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Networks and fiber optics: the irreplaceable

The pandemic forced evolution of the industry to connect the world from anywhere

  • The increase in demand for internet services led to the deployment of thousands of kilometers of fiber, increasingly specialized and with greater capacity, to meet market needs.
  • Just 33% of the population in Latin America has fiber optic internet coverage.

San José, agoust 2021. The pandemic demonstrated that broadband networks , technologies and telecommunications have constituted irreplaceable tools to connect the world and maintain closeness, communication and economic activities.
“The world has changed and undoubtedly affected industries such as tourism, real estate and entertainment will never underestimate this again. From our trenches, we must reflect on how to take advantage of this experience with a more comprehensive and leveraged vision in technological devices, virtual environments and, of course, internet access ”, commented Marcelo Andrade, vice president of telecommunications at Prysmian Group for Latin America.
According to Andrade, in the remainder of 2021 the telecommunications industry has a great challenge: ensuring that networks continue to evolve and connect as many people as possible, from anywhere, to carry out multiple activities, be it remote work, services of reproduction of videos or studies from education platforms.
“It sounds tiny, but the way that voice, data and video travel great distances to reach our computer or smartphone lies in the transport, in the simplicity and complexity of a fiber optic cable,” added Andrade.
The increase in demand for internet services and the need for connectivity in Latin America led to the deployment of thousands of kilometers of fiber, increasingly specialized and with greater capacity, to meet the needs of the data market for multiple services.
Some of the great beneficiaries during the confinement are the cable operators that offer packages of broadband internet access, direct to homes and work offices. However, Fiber To The Home ( Fiber To The Home ) must reach medium and small cities to connect and use the internet in multiple projects or activities.
Andrade explained that, in this way, new internet service providers have appeared that capitalize on this opportunity and reach places where cable operators are not interested in investing. The advantage is that today the maturity of fiber optic technology is global and affordable.
“This may be added to government initiatives to reduce digital gaps, considering that in Latin America, fiber optic internet coverage is only 33% of the population,” he added.
In Costa Rica, the coverage of fiber optic networks grew by 146% from June 2019 to June 2020, according to data from the Superintendency of Telecommunications. Even, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the country is in the third fastest growing place in the expansion of fiber optics among its member countries.

5G Network Deployment

Beyond the expectation around 5G networks for mobile services, the Latin American region will have to take firm steps in terms of regulation and technical planning to take advantage of the antenna infrastructure distributed in cities. It will also have to add new infrastructure that meets the necessary coverage, as these networks become scalable.
The first parameters for the success of this deployment are in the space for the installation and power supply in existing 4G antennas, as well as the type of fiber optic cable with hybrid functions to ensure the quality of the network.

Another important aspect is to check if the network ecosystem and databases are ready to deliver the promise of value to the user in our region, in terms of the use of technology with internet access in the industry, as is the case of autonomous vehicles of the future and the agricultural segment.
A network with low latency (that responds immediately) is essential to guarantee the smooth operation and, obviously, this only occurs when the connections to the data centers are made correctly.
“Imagine the cars of tomorrow equipped with fiber optics on board, much lighter than traditional electrical systems and ensuring the redundancy of the necessary data, from strategically located data centers so that the operation on roads is safe,” said Andrade.

More powerful submarine cables

The gigantic connectivity projects will continue as a constant. The sea will not be the limit as the submarine cables that transport energy from one continent to another will be more powerful and high-performance.
Andrade said offshore oil and gas extraction platforms could disappear to be replaced by safer subsea factories controlled by remote workers.
“Thanks to product innovation and best practices to make these greater links, we will see more collaboration between governments and continents to generate progress and economic well-being for people,” he said.
One of the great challenges companies face is connecting continents such as Europe and Africa with new high-voltage submarine cables or transferring huge amounts of data for telecommunications.
The vast geographic expanses of sea can reach up to 3,000 meters deep, that is to say, they are currently too much for existing cable projects since at present the installation limit is 1,600 meters.
The optimal design from the wiring, the manufacture with new and better materials that ensure reliability, as well as international security certifications, will be very relevant to fulfill the mission of transporting the most valuable asset: data.
“The important thing is that this impetus for the use of the Internet and its various applications reaches everyone for the development of a more united society to overcome the challenges that come. With the experience of manufacturing more than 30 million kilometers per year of fiber optics in the world, we continue to seek new ways to connect people and the world ”, he concluded.

Prysmian Group

Prysmian Group is a world leader in the telecommunications and power cable systems industry. With almost 140 years of experience, sales of more than € 10 billion, about 28 thousand collaborators in more than 50 countries and 104 plants, of which one has been located in Costa Rica for 50 years and has more than 230 collaborators . The Carbonated Group is positioned in high-tech markets and offers the widest possible range of products, services, technologies and knowledge. It operates in the businesses of underground and submarine cables and systems for power transmission and distribution, special cables for applications in many different industries, and medium and low voltage cables for the construction and infrastructure sectors. For the telecommunications industry, the Group manufactures cables and accessories for voice, video and data transmission, offering a wide range of optical fibers, optical and copper cables and connectivity systems. Prysmian is a public company listed on the Italian Stock Exchange in the FTSE MIB index.




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