In today's world, there are close to zero major industries that do not use connectivity services in any capacity. If there's one thing that the modern world has witnessed in the last 30 years, it is the exponential growth of connectivity and bandwidth. This growth is continuously propelled by an increasing need for higher capacity in most areas of business and life.
During Liberty Network's LINKS Conference, we learned about the trends and opportunities that will impact the telecommunications industry in the years to come.
How much more bandwidth can the industry create?
One of the most popular questions in the telecommunications industry is: how much more capacity can we continue to pull for broader bandwidth?
According to Peter Collins, Senior Director of Wholesale Operations at Liberty Networks, the answer to this question is one of interest to telecommunications companies, clients, and partners.
As many colleagues have shared in the past, we have already reached the limited amount of information that can be transmitted by a single laser with fiber optics – we've reached the limits of the Shannon–Hartley theorem. However, the reality is that for every limitation that bandwidth has posed on business, we have created a new solution. "We hit 1 minute with Shannon's law, and we came up with another thing," Collins said.
At this point, the goal is to expand on the spectrum of laser colors within a fiber – each color with the ability to process a vast amount of data. This evolution, known as the C-Band to L-Band transition, would nearly double the capacity currently held by companies such as Liberty Networks and partners such as Infinera.
According to Collins, the industry can expect a 350% growth in capacity in the next five years, given upcoming new innovations and technologies. In seven to eight years' time, he expects steady growth and a path to continue to grow capacity considering current assets.
David Bacchus, Head of Carrier Relations at Bell Canada, further argued that capacity growth is also dependent on an "intelligent optical network: the ability to switch optical wavelengths in an automated fashion without human intervention." This form of artificial intelligence controls the network in a more intelligent way to reroute traffic and manage traffic patterns.
Considering these technological advances, the industry will continue to push capacity growth. We will continue to develop our capacity to manage high peaks of traffic, regardless of poor bandwidth demand.
What's the future of bandwidth growth in Latin America and the Caribbean?
As we work to guarantee wider bandwidth in Latin America and the Caribbean, we need to build more low-cost and dynamic connectivity. Further, leveraging artificial intelligence may be a key to steering the traffic where it needs to go effectively.
According to Robert Shore, SVP of Marketing at Infinera, the bandwidth growth with new data centers depends on the driving force for the network providers. What is the new bandwidth most needed for?
"It is not solely a matter of building data centers at the edge or an edge compute resource. It is going to require more rethinking in the way we build these networks to offer those services," Shore said.
Certain needs are more latency-dependent than others, such as electric vehicles. But the reality is that most of the driving forces of bandwidth in the region are not latency-dependent – at least not at this time. This is why it is important to consider propelling demand for latency-sensitive products and services where there may be a higher need for more data centers and broader bandwidth. "The driver must be compelling enough to enable it," asserted Shore.
"We don't know for certain what the next 15 years will look like in terms of connectivity. However, we do know that a vast majority of, if not all, industries will be impacted by the developments in bandwidth. After all, our mission is to provide connectivity and solutions where they're needed, and we're excited to take part in it," Shore said.
"I personally am super excited to see what's going to happen 15 years from now," Shore continued. "Because if the world changes as much in the next 15 years as it has in the last 15 years, it's going to be pretty exciting to be part of that," Shore concluded.