Optical networks: The backbone of the internet

Rob Shore, senior vice president of Marketing at Infinera, joined host John Gilroy on this week's Federal Tech Talk to discuss how optical networks can help fed...

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COVID-19 has strained every part of the internet, forcing federal agencies to examine ways they can scale network bandwidth and accelerate service integration.

Rob Shore is the senior vice president of Marketing at Infinera. He joined host John Gilroy on this week’s Federal Tech Talk to discuss the backbone of the internet —optical networks.

Rob Shore, senior VP, Marketing, Infinera

Shore gave an introduction to new ways existing cables can offer increased speed. His company, Infinera, has come up with innovative ways to amplify the signal. He gave a technical explanation: Essentially, a light goes through an optical cable, and it hits a transponder. Imagine that transponder is a car and the network is a road.

Infinera has altered the ways these transponders can handle a signal. One generic description is the term “multiplexing,” but this term doesn’t really give the full range of capability of this innovation. New technology allows for offering differentiation among the variety of signals in the optical cable.

This means that a federal agency can take advantage of increased speed while not having to pay for it 365 days a year. Organizations like the IRS and FEMA have seasonal needs, and a flexible high speed communication system offers several advantages.

Shore also talked about open standards and optical networks. Most listeners know about the open-source movement in software, it is paralleled with the standards committees who develop understandings for common optical carriers.

During the interview,  Shore explained that open standards allow for several vendors to look at a system and provide a range of services according to the needs of the ultimate end user.  This offers high speed and extreme flexibility.

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