hfc seminar series helps optimize communications networks in Asia

Sept. 1, 1998

hfc seminar series helps optimize communications networks in Asia

As capacity demand grows around the world, so does the need for information on how to meet that demand.

By BILL MOORE

Ten years ago at the Western Cable Show, the cable industry was revolutionized with the first public demonstration of linear fiber optics for cable television. This demonstration illustrated how linear fiber optics could be used to provide cost-effective transmission of large numbers of radio frequency (RF) video channels over fiber-optic cable without converting the original signal from analog to digital. That same innovative technology will be the focal point of Ortel`s upcoming Asia Seminar Series in the fall of 1998, as hybrid fiber/coaxial cable (hfc) network technology also has the potential to revolutionize broadband networks for the next 10 years.

Since that first demonstration, hfc networks have emerged as the leading video-distribution network architecture around the world, providing dramatic improvements in both picture quality and reliability. On every continent, improvements in linear lasers and their associated RF circuitry, power output, and bandwidth have allowed increases in channel capacity. hfc systems based on 1310- and 1550-nm transmission, Synchronous Optical Network, and digital multiplexing alternatives have enabled supertrunking and the consolidation of headends.

In North America, for example, cable infrastructure has reached the advanced stages of deployment, with nearly half of the market served by newly upgraded cable systems. In western Europe, some markets, including Belgium and the Netherlands, are almost entirely covered by cable while others are just beginning to build their infrastructure. As funds for communications infrastructure become available, less-developed eastern European countries are opting to install modern hfc architectures. In addition, the massive Asian market, with three times as many television households as Europe, is also in the early stages of developing the networks needed to meet the growing demand for cable television.

hfc, especially with an activated return path, is unique in its ability to perform more than simple television services. Internet users benefit from increased bandwidth as today`s 56-kbit/sec modems and Integrated Services Digital Network offerings are replaced with Ethernet speeds of up to 10 Mbits/sec. Once users gain access to higher data rates, the backbone speed must increase, spawning another round of increases in bandwidth capability. hfc is the architecture best suited to accommodate this demand.

In order to assist network operators in identifying manufacturers that use high-quality components to meet the massive demand for communications solutions in the Asian markets, Ortel Corp. is conducting a series of educational seminars in the fall of 1998 throughout Asia. These seminars are directed at educating local original equipment manufacturers (oems) and systems integrators regarding technology principles and developments in fiber-optic communications solutions for broadband communications, satellite communications, and telecommunications. The seminar series provides a unique opportunity for oems and integrators in Asia to gain new insight into the latest developments in fiber optics in order to optimize cable-television networks throughout Asia. The series will be held in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzen, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Seoul. The series begins in the middle of October and runs through the beginning of November.

The seminars will provide cable television design engineers in Asia with the most recent information on key linear fiber-optic technologies for hfc networks. These technologies include 1310- and 1550-nm transmitter technology, photodiode and receiver design, erbium-doped fiber amplifier (edfa) design and performance, analog wavelength-division multiplexing (awdm) networks, and trends in hfc network design.

The 1310- and 1550-nm transmitter technology discussions will focus primarily on transmission impairments, design, and implementation trends. The photodiodes and receiver-design seminar will examine noise, linearity, and optical power levels. In addition, engineers will study return-path lasers including the trade-offs between Fabry-Perot and distributed feedback laser performance. In the edfa session, edfa design, performance, and application will be covered. The awdm networks workshop will examine topics including the advantages and disadvantages of awdm and the performance issues regarding the fiber-optic parameters, node size and gateways.

The demand for high-bandwidth two-way communications has become intense due to a number of factors, including Internet usage, telephony, broadcast television, the rebirth of digital television on demand, telecommuting, and new services yet to be developed. hfc networks have emerged during the last 10 years, providing high-bandwidth access between a headend and individual homes and business. These Asia seminars are designed to educate oems so they can produce products that will help cable operators to maximize the performance of their networks by providing comprehensive, up-to-date information on technology principles and developments in RF and microwave fiber optics. By addressing topics focused on the selection of key fiber-optic components and transmitter design considerations, Asia can meet the challenging requirements of these communications applications. q

Bill Moore is vice president and general manager, Broadband Communications Business Sector, at Ortel Corp. (Alhambra, CA).

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