Friday, 12 June 2020

IOWN - Innovative Optical and Wireless Network

If you are not watching the optical networking space, chances are you have not heard of this Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) initiative which was proposed by NTT and is now being standardised by IOWN Global Forum.

NTT Technical Review published a detailed article on this topic earlier this year. The following is from the article:

To create an affluent and diverse society, NTT has proposed the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) concept, which is a new communication infrastructure that can provide high-speed broadband communication and enormous computing resources by using innovative technologies including optical technologies. NTT also believes that these innovative technologies can optimize society as a whole and individuals using all types of information. IOWN uses three elements, All-Photonics Network, Digital Twin Computing, and Cognitive Foundation® to create a smart world, as shown below (Fig. 3).

  • Dramatic reduction in power consumption and broadening of communication bandwidth can provide enormous processing capacity for the explosive increase in computational complexity.
  • By increasing the capacity and reducing the delay of communications, it is possible to share in real time huge amounts of information collected from various sensors, exceeding the five senses.
  • Dedicated use of optical wavelengths provides a high level of confidentiality and stability and can be used for mission-critical services.
  • Multi-orchestration capabilities for centralized management of various resources, enabling resource utilization across industrial and regional domains
  • The creation of a cyberspace that replicates and expands the real world by combining various digital twins and human models

All-Photonics Network

As the number of people and things connected to a network increase, advanced, complex, and large-scale information processing such as for AI will require a vast amount of power consumption. To reduce such power consumption and meet mission critical service requirements, NTT applies photonics technologies to end-to-end environments for achieving ultra-low-power consumption, large-capacity, and low-delay networks. For example, NTT aims to increase power efficiency 100 fold by developing transmission devices that control optical wavelengths and photonics-electronics convergence devices. NTT also aims to expand transmission capacity 125 fold by increasing multiplexing in optical fibers and expanding multicores in a fiber (Fig. 4).

Digital Twin Computing

A digital twin is an image of real-world objects, such as production machines, aircraft engines, and automobiles in factories, by mapping their shapes, conditions, and functions into cyberspace and expressing them accurately. Using digital twins enables us to analyze the current situation, predict the future, and simulate objects in cyberspace.

Digital Twin Computing is a new computing paradigm that makes it possible to reproduce and simulate the interaction between things and people freely in cyberspace by conducting computations such as exchange, fusion, duplication, and synthesis for many digital twins representing the real world.

Cognitive Foundation®

To achieve low-power-consumption, high-capacity, high-quality communication networks and large-scale interactions between people and objects, it is necessary to select and use various resources appropriately. The Cognitive Foundation is an infrastructure that provides a set of functions necessary to build and operate services by using various methods of collecting, processing, storing, and communicating data scattered throughout various locations.

NTT recently released Technology Report for Smart World 2020 which introduces 11 technologies that they think are crucial to thinking about the changing world ahead. According to them, these technologies are the focus of their own research and development efforts, and are also being vigorously pursued around the world. Some of these technologies are key components of IOWN, while others can be expected to see wide adoption as a result of IOWN according to the report.

Back in April, IOWN GF unveiled its Vision 2030 White Paper. With artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented realities, 5G, dynamic computing scaling, blockchain and other advanced technologies on the verge of becoming part of the daily lives for billions of people, IOWN GF’s Vision 2030 is to define and build a global communications infrastructure over the next decade capable of sustainably maximizing the benefits these new technologies offer society and businesses. The hope is to create a smarter world where technology is used more naturally and becomes more pervasive for all. Download the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network Global Forum Vision 2030 and Technical Directions White Paper here.

Finally, the videos will provide a much clearer idea about the vision of IOWN. As always, feel free to provide your insights in the comments below.

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