BT, the UK’s largest telecoms and network provider, has launched hollow core fiber trials at the BT Labs in Adastral Park, Ipswich, in a joint venture with Lumenisity, the University of Southampton’s spin-off company and Mavenir, the Open Radio Access Network (O- RAN) mobile carrier.
The research is being carried out at BT’s research and engineering facilities, with the researchers using a 10-kilometer-long hollow-core fiber cable made by Lumenisity. This state-of-the-art network cable has a hollow, air-filled center that extends through the entirety of the cable. The hollow core fiber will be tested for a myriad of applications, such as the possible benefits to 5G networks and highly secure communications such as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).
Reducing the latency of hollow fiber light could provide immense benefits, including high-frequency trading and reduced mobile network costs. This joint venture has revealed that the usage of hollow core fiber can result in greater distances between street antennas and back-end processing in exchanges. Using hollow cores in a Radio Access Network (RAN) can reduce mobile network costs as an increased number 5G antennas can be served from a single station or cabinet, due to the low network latency.
Professor Andrew Lord, BT’s Head of Optical Network Research, said: “We’re excited to begin trialling hollow core fibre and to discover the potential opportunities and benefits of deploying this technology in certain scenarios. This new type of fibre cable could play an important role in the future of the world’s communications infrastructure, heralding a step-change in capability and speed, to keep up with the demands for high-speed, low latency communications driven by 5G networks, streaming, and more.”
“Lumenisity is delighted to be the supplier of field deployable CoreSmart hollow core cable for these trials with BT. This is further evidence of the impact our unique low loss, high performing cables can have on the networks operated by our carrier partners,” said Mike Fake, Lumenisity’s Director responsible for Product Management.