2024 Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) | Optical Fiber Innovations | Corning

As artificial intelligence and broadband expansion transform networks, we’re helping customers solve their toughest challenges

Dr. Aleksandra Boskovic
Published: March 26, 2024

Deploying faster. Minimizing costs. Getting more fiber into smaller spaces. Meeting sustainability goals. Those are the themes we at Corning are hearing again and again from our customers – and they’re the themes that guide us as we work together to create the building blocks for tomorrow’s networks.

This year at the 2024 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC), Corning will show how our latest innovations meet these exact needs for speed of deployment, cost-effectiveness, density and sustainability. I’m especially excited by these innovations because they cover every segment of the network, from long-haul and submarine, to the data center, to the access network.

Let’s take a closer look at how these technology themes are shaping some of the innovations Corning is highlighting at OFC:

Faster: Accelerating Network Buildouts

Consider how fast artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing one industry after another. Businesses can leverage AI to improve a multitude of services including healthcare operations—using virtualized nursing assistants to streamline check-in or answer questions while private users leverage Chat GPT to explain difficult topics, correct grammar errors, and more. The fact is, AI has woven itself into almost every industry and it’s only the beginning.

As these innovative AI applications quickly expand and become more frequently used, the back-end computing networks within data centers need to expand just as quickly to meet demand. Deployment timelines, however, can be challenging, given the ongoing shortage of skilled labor.

That’s why, this year at OFC, Corning experts will showcase the EDGE™ Distribution System, a pre-engineered data center solution designed to simplify cabling within data centers and reduce server cabling installation time by up to 70% — a critical benefit for data centers enabling AI and ML. Its preconnectorized qualities accelerate deployment while reducing reliance on skilled labor.

Denser: More Fiber, More Possibilities

As network needs evolve, operators are looking to deploy more fiber in smaller spaces. That’s why smaller, denser cables have been such a key focus of our innovation. This year at OFC, we’re introducing the RocketRibbon® cable with Flow Ribbon Technology, a fiber-dense cable designed to maximize duct space and streamline installations for data center and carrier applications. It combines the flexibility of loose tube cables with the speed of ribbon splicing and offers fiber counts up to 6912.

The key to its density is the fiber inside: Corning® SMF-28® Contour optical fiber. Due to its smaller outer diameter (190 microns) it has achieved a 40% reduction in cross sectional area compared to traditional 242-micron diameter fiber, which allows it to be smaller yet denser and ideal for maximizing legacy infrastructure. 

We’re especially proud of SMF-28 Contour fiber, introduced at OFC three years ago, because of its many innovative qualities. Besides the small outer diameter for high-density cable design, it delivers enhanced bend resilience and a standard 9.2-micron mode field diameter for compatibility with existing network fibers. With SMF-28 Contour fiber’s density and bend resilience, we see tremendous possibilities for all the transformative products that a fiber like this can enable.

Lower Cost of Ownership: Saving Labor, Minimizing Costs

When it comes to helping operators reduce their reliance on skilled labor during deployment, Corning has been an innovation leader for decades. We’re extending that track record with Multifiber Pushlok™ Technology, the latest addition to Corning's Evolv® portfolio of hardened connectivity solutions for carrier networks. These new solutions, which we’ll be showcasing at OFC, consist of cable assemblies, connectors and terminals designed to accelerate deployments and increase network density, scalability, and flexibility.

A key component to the new set of solutions is Evolv® FlexNAP™ with Multifiber Pushlok™ Technology. It is “preconnectorized” to fit operators’ customer-specific locations, reducing their reliance on skilled labor and delivering cost savings of at least $25 per home, compared to traditional splice methods. That’s especially important to network operators looking to leverage funding from the U.S. government’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, as they look to meet deployment timelines amid the labor constraints.

More Sustainable: A Shared Commitment

Corning's commitment to sustainable practices is evident in our innovative products designed to lower carbon footprint and reduce packaging. For example, our portfolio of cables with Flow Ribbon Technology, which feature a reduced diameter and efficient use of materials, can lower carbon footprint by up to 60% compared to legacy solutions. Further, thanks to the reduction of packaging materials, the EDGE™ Distribution System can help operators reduce their carbon footprint by up to 55%. In addition, the new Multifiber Pushlok™ Technology from Corning's Evolv® portfolio supports sustainability objectives by reducing packaging material per assembly by up to 30%.

At Corning, we take a long-term approach to sustainability, as we address key challenges of the moment and evolve to meet the needs of the future. You can learn more about Corning’s commitment to sustainability in the 2023 Corning Sustainability Report.

If you’re at the OFC Conference, I hope you’ll come visit Corning at Booth 2841, to see these innovations in action and learn more about how Corning is moving the world forward with every connection.

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Dr. Aleksandra Boskovic

Dr. Aleksandra Boskovic is vice president, Corning Optical Communications technology development. In this role, Boskovic is responsible for ensuring an integrated technology strategy for Corning’s Optical business. This includes delivering the most valuable components and solutions to Corning’s customers, while capitalizing on competitive advantages in fiber, cable, connectivity, actives, and software. Boskovic is an Optica fellow and holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in physics from Imperial College, U.K., and an M.Sc. and B.S. in physics from Pontificia Universidade Catolica, Brazil. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business.

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