Comcast’s hollowcore fiber will be the foundation of 10G internet speeds

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Comcast announced it is adopting advanced hollowcore fiber to serve as the foundation for its faster 10G network which will be capable of 10 gigabits per second internet speeds.

Comcast is the first internet service provider to adopt the fiber optic cable, which delivers faster internet speeds and lower latency (network response). This real world deployment – believed to be the longest deployment of hollowcore fiber worldwide by an ISP – is a significant boost to Comcast’s network and will help it bring about 10G networking.

The cable company has long talked about its 10G network, but the low-latency tech — which enables faster interaction — would be welcome news for gamers, who rely upon faster interaction in multiplayer games. This hollowcore fiber tech has significantly better network performance than traditional glass-based fiber, Comcast said.

In a test of the technology, Comcast connected two Philadelphia locations with 40-kilometer hybrid deployment of hollowcore and traditional fiber. It is believed to be the longest such networking in the world.

Unlike traditional fibers, in which laser light travels over a solid glass core, hollowcore fibers are empty inside with air-filled channels. Since light travels nearly 50% faster through air than glass, data travels about 150% faster with up to 33% lower latency through hollowcore fiber compared to traditional fiber.

The faster speed of light can be used to double the reach for latency-critical applications or can speed up the transaction rates by around 47%. For the deployment announced today, Comcast worked with hollowcore fiber cable solutions provider, Lumenisity.

Hollowcore fiber could boost internet speeds.

“Hollowcore fiber is a leap forward in how we deliver ultra-fast, ultra-low latency and ultra-reliable services to customers,” said Elad Nafshi, executive vice president and chief network officer at Comcast Cable, in a statement. “As we continue to develop and deploy technology to deliver 10G, multigigabit performance to tens of millions of homes, hollowcore fiber will help to ensure that the network powering those experiences is among the most advanced and highest performing in the world.”

Comcast successfully tested bidirectional transmission (upstream and downstream traffic traveling on a single fiber), used coherent and direct-detect systems (allowing for forward and backward technology compatibility), and produced traffic rates ranging from 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) to 400 Gbps all simultaneously on a single strand of hollowcore fiber.

“We are proud to be working with Comcast on the next generation hollowcore fiber, which we believe unlocks exciting new potential for connectivity around the world,” said David Parker, executive chairman of Lumenisity, in a statement.

Hollowcore fiber could support network virtualization, telemedicine, augmented and virtual reality, and other emerging services. Moving forward, Comcast is exploring opportunities to strategically deploy hollowcore fiber in select core- and access-network deployments. From 2017 to 2021, Comcast added more than 50,000 new route miles of fiber to its network and is actively building more fiber into cities and towns across the United States.