To 400G and beyond: the arrival of adaptive networks and the next technology boom

We live in a world in which we’re regularly streaming Netflix in 4K, using the power of the phones in our pockets to augment our realities with virtual gaming, and even watching basketball from a virtual courtside seat. Our networks have evolved to cater for these technologies, and each evolutionary step has brought with it a technological boom enabled by greater capacity, speed, automation, intelligence and programmability.

The next step has arrived and it’s just in time, because when you thought we were finally content with, well, content, new technologies have emerged that push beyond what we ever thought possible.

At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Intel Studios unveiled what it’s calling Volumetric Video – and it’s nothing short of stunning. Volumetric Video uses multiple cameras to shoot a 360-degree field of view, but it differs from standard 360-degree or VR video in that it captures footage “from the outside in”. To picture how it works, visualize the action scenes from The Matrix, in which the cameras pan around a frozen-in-mid-air Keanu Reeves. But now imagine being a viewer with the ability to zoom in on any part of that scene or look at any part of the footage from any angle you want, at any point in the action sequence.

Thankfully 400G has arrived and will enable the kind of bandwidth and compute needed for such a revolutionary technology. It’s easy to forget that just 10 years ago, we’d hit the limit of what we could do with simple direct detection of 40G waves. Fortunately, Coherent Detection provide the breakthrough that allowed the world to re-think what the network was capable of.

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