Verizon and NEC complete fibre optic PoC

Verizon and NEC complete fibre optic PoC

08 October 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

Cover

Verizon and NEC have completed a proof of concept (PoC) that used existing fibre optic cables as distributed optical sensors to collect information on city traffic patterns, road conditions, road capacity, and vehicle classification information.

The trial used new optical sensor technology developed by NEC with software supported by artificial intelligence (AI). Traditionally, companies have had to lay purpose-built fibre very shallow in the ground with fibre at pre-determined intervals to gather and synthesize the information.

"This test marks an important milestone for technology that could provide a huge leap forward for those building smart cities and those tasked to manage them," said Adam Koeppe, senior vice president of technology planning and development, Verizon. "Instead of ripping up tarmac to place road and traffic-sensing technology, cities will be able to simply piggyback Verizon’s existing fibre optic network."

Now combined with optical sensor technology from NEC, Verizon is able to use non-purpose built fibre already laid in the ground to gather similar data. Through this partnership, the technology could lead to or improve other solutions that support public functions such as helping first responders detect and respond to gunshots and enhancing the ability of municipalities to detect deterioration of bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure.

The trial was carried out using a fibre sensing system that coexisted with existing Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) communication channels on the same fibre with minimal impact to data communication capacity, making it suitable for deployment even in traffic congested networks.

"NEC has a strong history of leadership in the area of optical fibre technology,” added Atsuo Kawamura, executive vice president of NEC. “The results obtained from this joint research program with Verizon are a great advancement for smart city business opportunities, especially for safer city solutions such as the conservation of roads and the utilization of traffic information. We are confident that these cutting-edge solutions will provide meaningful new value for optical fibre networks."