There is a limit to how many bits can be sent down an optical fiber. This limit, known as the ‘Shannon Limit’ is defined as the maximum rate at which data can be sent over a medium with zero errors.
Technologies such as coherent optics allow operators to get closer to this theoretical limit. However, moving forward, the gains in spectral efficiency that will be achieved with future generations of coherent technology are diminishing. This will require alternative approaches and ideas to deal with network scalability challenges. Using updated designs, next generation hardware, and software tools, network operators will be able to extend the life of their networks as well as deploy new networks more quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Using these ideas, operators can start reducing the slope of their spectral usage curve while at the same time, deploying new photonic networks with higher efficiency.