Corning Optical Network Evolution (ONE™) Solutions | How it Works | Glass Age | Corning

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Science of Glass: Corning Optical Network Evolution (ONE™) Solutions

Science of Glass: ONE

How it Works: Corning Optical Network Evolution (ONE™) Solutions

How it Works: ONE

Imagine sitting at a baseball game and capturing the greatest double-play you’ve ever seen. You want to share your photo or video with your friends on social media, but so do the other thousands of fans sitting around you. Limited bandwidth slows your connection and increases your frustration with not being able to share one thing.

Have you ever been in this situation? Where everyone is trying to tweet, text, post at the same time but can’t due to bandwidth capabilities? Well, Corning is looking to right this wrong with one of its technologies – Corning Optical Network Evolution (ONE™) Solutions. ONE makes an enormously complicated technical process seem effortless.

Whether you’re in a packed sports stadium or deep inside a concrete-walled office building, all it takes is a flick of a finger to videochat with friends or customers. But making it all happen is some of the world’s most sophisticated communications technology -- much of it invented and manufactured by Corning.

For a better idea of how it all works, think first of today’s highly mobile, always-connected lifestyle. A myriad of electronic devices and apps move massive amounts of data through the cloud as people move in and out of large, complex venues.

Individual smartphone, tablets, and wearables are just part of the story. Security systems, retail sales networks, and private LAN communications – like intranets, or nurse-paging systems in a hospital – all add to the data traffic.

The high-bandwidth pressure and need for speed – especially with data-heavy video -- would overwhelm conventional networks. But ONE handles the challenge with ease. 

Where everything converges

It all starts at the “headend,” the place where incoming signals from cellphone towers, cable TV and telecom carriers, and other data providers come together.

Corning’s Integrated Headend Unit, a device about the size of a microwave oven, houses a rack of flat modules that take in the full spectrum of those radio frequency (RF) signals. The intricate system inside each module converts the RF signals to optical signals and amplifies them.

The complexity of the task is astonishing. The incoming signals come from many different devices running many applications on unique protocols. They must all converge onto the same network regardless of how they were generated or how they’ll be received.

Because optical fiber offers near-limitless bandwidth, it can bring traffic from different protocols together into a single strand. Data travels in “waveguides” instead of electricity, so text messages, phone calls, video streaming, online gaming, and e-commerce signals can all coexist over a single optical infrastructure.

Once converged, signals travel through cable-encased optical fiber from the headend to the main venue – which could be several miles away. The cable threads through the venue’s ceiling cavities, walls, and floors. A powerful, compact Remote Access Unit, which folds down from the ceiling, brings together the cellular, and WiFi networks antenna systems (DAS) throughout the venue – some for the cellular network, and some for WiFi access.

The individual DAS antennas can be as small as a household smoke detector. They are typically mounted on ceilings or other unobtrusive spots. In the case of Kyle Field at Texas A&M University, for example, 669 of the 1,300 access points were mounted under stadium seats. That means incoming signals are quick and clear for fans in the stands – and it’s just as easy to send data out again.

But what about the LAN?

The headend also brings together the local area network lines that are essential for internal operations of many businesses. Consider the heavy data volume for concessions at a sports stadium, logistics at a resort, or transactions at a bank.

ONE makes all those connections possible – and lightning-fast – through a series of Ethernet ports. The pros call the system “agnostic;” in other words, it’s interoperable no matter what technology or application is running on the network segment. They all connect back to the same optical fiber backbone.

What are our products?

Corning designs and manufactures more than 25 distinct modules and units to support a wide variety of scenarios for ONE.

Corning optical fiber, of course, is at the heart of the platform, ensuring the same ubiquitous connectivity at the edge of the network that people are used to having on the Internet superhighway.

But other key products include the headend unit; carrier optical interface and interconnect units; remote access unit and antenna; and central Ethernet unit, all designed to be easily expandable for future network needs.

Composite cables, connectors, fiber housing, and an assortment of accessory kits for a variety of mounting options add to the ONE product suite. Corning uses third-party vendors for some other components, and brings them all together into one seamless, easy-to-expand network.