How AI is changing fiber design

According to Corning's Sharon Bois, fiber providers have an opportunity to bring a lot of innovation to service provider networks and data centers as bandwidth demands skyrocket. Creating dense, scalable networks that are easy to install and more sustainable than ever is a top concern as AI changes bandwidth consumption patterns.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

April 5, 2024

In optical networking circles, Corning is always a vendor to watch. Since 2020, the company said it has invested more than $500 million in fiber and cable manufacturing, an expansion that has nearly doubled its ability to serve the US market.

During OFC 2024, networking powerhouses Cisco and Infinera showcased their long-haul and subsea transport capabilities at their booths. Both companies used Corning’s Vasade EX2500, its lowest-loss fiber for those applications. 

Later at the show, Light Reading caught up with Sharon Bois, division VP of product line and marketing for Corning Optical Fiber and Cable, to discuss demand for bandwidth and how it's shaping fiber and cable innovation.

AI needs density, distance

Bois addressed carriers' long-haul needs and discussed the kinds of fiber and cable needed inside and outside the data center. Of course, the data center optics discussion at the show was spurred on by new AI computing needs, which require both density in computing clusters and greater distances between data centers. 

Bois noted that balancing reach, throughput and a familiar workflow are the keys to keeping service providers happy while accommodating rapidly changing bandwidth requirements. 

Pliability, lower attenuation and ultra-low loss are all needed, but in different amounts depending on the application. Bois discussed the innovations coming to service provider networks and data centers today and the tradeoffs needed as network infrastructure evolves.

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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