Does light hold the key to the future of the internet?

By Huawei

Huawei gives a glimpse of the future with intelligent networks that transmit data at lightning speed.

From Amazon Prime to Netflix, this lockdown is sure testing the global internet infrastructure. The past few months has seen a 50 per cent surge in online traffic - and stock prices in tech companies like Zoom and Microsoft are rocketing.

But this is massively data intensive and is hard to secure and maintain, putting an incredible strain on digital infrastructure and their power usage as well. There is a need for new tech that can reduce consumption and cope with greater digital demand.

Huawei has turned to light speed for the answer, testing out intelligent optical networks that manage massive data flows with reduced carbon emissions.

Shedding light on the future

Pioneering a new optics technology, the company launched a flagship product to revolutionise and future-proof the way we communicate digitally and ensure more secure connections. The cutting edge Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 combines fibre optic networks and AI innovation to help enterprises cope with increased data flow at reduced cost.

When it comes to network traffic, your data centres can be your weakest link. As the world increasingly moves online, current centres struggle with data overload. This can cause bottlenecks and congestion: a network traffic jam.

Part of the problem is by many data centres lack the bandwidth to efficiently provide high-speed communications for hyperconnected cities. By using fibre optic transmissions, Huawei’s cutting edge technology is not only able to manage high volumes of data flow without adding more fibres, it can also slip seamlessly between different wavelengths, as smoothly as cars switching lanes in a motorway.

Digital highways driving nations

As agile working becomes the new normal, data doesn’t just need to go fast, it needs to go far. As Brandon Wu, CTO of Huawei Technologies explains, Huawei’s fibre optic transmission makes data travel “much more flexible across long distances”.

Wu predicts there will be over 40 billion devices, with over a hundred billion connections globally by 2025. For governments driving digital innovation, speed, and a safe place to store your data, can enhance the smooth running of your nation’s business and critical services.

A connected ecosystem, with the use of new technologies such as IoT, forms the foundation of a smart city, generating a large pool of digital assets and driving the need for interconnected data centres. Huawei’s all-optical network foundation is specifically geared towards the growing demands of network capacity expansion and can help national leaders build ‘digital highways’ within - and between - these urban hubs of the future.

Big data in the big city

Between 2015 and 2030, about 100 million people in ASEAN are expected to move to urban areas. This rapid urbanisation means that data centre demand is increasing. But when effective response depends on closeness to the customer, it is difficult to acquire a large area of land in cities, where costs are increasingly high.

For Huawei, simplicity is the solution: by converging different technologies, their new data centre saves equipment room space and provides easy accessibility to busy city dwellers. “By using a single fibre instead of many, you have a lot more flexibility on distance”, explains Wu. Streamlining connections also streamlines business cost, and a “better return on investment”: a key consideration for companies facing an imminent economic crisis.

Transmitting and storing data is energy intensive, and many networks still use copper cabling, a finite resource. For governments building hyper-connected cities with high-speed broadband demands, Huawei’s data centres and their fibre optic technology is a way to be Smart and sustainable. Their optic fibre cabling and green energy can build fast broadband networks between devices, while cutting operating costs and reducing power consumption.

A solid foundation to change the future

The global technology giant has already helped over 120 key industry customers across more than 60 countries efficiently streamline their data networks. And as connectivity and traffic becomes “much more complex”, Wu believes that all companies should be considering a “dedicated data centre” as an integral part of their business model.

Even for those who already have a system to store their data, current speed and structures may not cut it. According to Wu, amplifiers like Huawei’s can plug seamlessly into an existing infrastructure to upscale performance. For keys sectors like hospitality and financial services which rely on high volumes of fast virtual transactions, this streamlined speed, connectivity and management of digital assets can be game-changing.

In a fully connected intelligent world, data will become essential. And where decisions are made from behind computer screens and smartphones, the speed it travels at is just as critical. In an increasingly complex landscape, Wu and Huawei’s aim is simple: “faster traffic from one channel to another”. As digital demand develops, they’re off at full speed.