Why A Fiber-Based Network Is In Demand


Much of the buzz today surrounds smartphones, their abilities, and how wireless voice and data will render landline technologies obsolete.  While the exponential increase in wireless functionality and use are altering the network landscape, the reality is that landline-based technologies are still in demand.

Wireless phones are only "wireless" from the phone to the tower.  After that the communication path most often relies on terrestrial-based services that are currently being provided via copper lines but are quickly being converted to fiber optics.  Today T-1 lines that utilize either two or four copper pairs from the Central Office to the cell tower are being augmented to try to keep pace with the ever increasing backhaul requirements that have resulted from the increased usage of data centric wireless handsets.  As the wireless providers upgrade their networks to support the latest technologies, these copper-provided T-1 circuits will give way to fiber-based Ethernet services.

Windstream, as well as other landline-based carriers, is constantly evaluating, planning, engineering and implementing upgrades to our facilities in order to keep pace. The interesting dilemma that we find ourselves in is how can we best continue to increase the number of “older generation” circuits that the wireless carriers are requiring in order to keep up with demand while at the same time preparing our networks for the “next generation” circuits that we know the carriers will be, and in some cases already are, ordering.  Telecommunication providers and wireless carriers all know  what the next network looks like and  how to effectively provide services on today’s network, but trying to most economically deal with the transition is a true challenge.

The most expensive and time consuming piece of this puzzle is the fiber optic cable that is required to provide the high bandwidth backhaul circuits necessary to run the next generation of wireless devices and service offerings.  At Windstream, we are actively engaged in route redesigns that place more fiber optic cable in the local loop.

One of the advantages of these route rebuilds is that it also allows Windstream to be in a position to increase the range of Ethernet-based services to our business customers along those routes as well as increase our own Internet backhaul circuits.  With this  increase in backhaul facilities, Windstream can provide customers with higher Internet speeds than were available on the copper-based network, as well as greatly enhance the overall quality and dependability of service.

The bottom line for the industry and for consumers is that this is a revolutionary period that will bring great change and benefit.  It is truly exciting to witness and participate in these rapid advances.