Beyond Moore’s Law (2000)

By Oleh Sniezko and Xiaolin Lu, AT&T Broadband

The computer industry has been proudly riding on the exponential curve based on Moore’s law for decades. What Moore did not expect, and perhaps nobody has ever dreamt of, is that the photonic technology, especially its application in cable industry, has similar if not more profound impacts on the communication infrastructure and service delivery mechanism. Since the advent of linear laser that introduced the optical transport technology into coaxial networks, the cable industry has embarked on extensive network upgrades that continually push fiber deeper into the network to evolve the infrastructure from a broadcast based trunk-and-branch plant to a two-way broadband network with superior quality and reliability to deliver advanced telecommunication and entertainment services. This paper will discuss the evolution of cable infrastructure from the point of view of a Photonic Moore’s Law that is based on the continuous technology innovation in lightwave, RF, and digital processing. We will describe the new exponential curve that represents this evolution, starting from conventional Fiber-to-the-Serving-Area with fiber node segmentation, through DWDM-based Secondary Ring architecture, to the LightWireTM network with fully-passive coax plant, and to the CoraLightTM architecture based on digital and distributed processing platform with DWDM deployment to the last thousands feet.

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