STL Unveils World’s Slimmest 160-Micron Optical Fiber at IMC 2023

Sterlite Technologies (STL), a prominent optical and digital solutions company, made a groundbreaking announcement at the India Mobile Congress 2023 (IMC 2023).
STL develops 160 micron fibre
STL unveiled the world’s slimmest optical fiber for telecommunications, measuring at an astonishing 160 microns in diameter. This innovation is poised to transform the landscape of fiber optic technology, enabling higher data capacity and more efficient network deployments.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology & Railways, unveiled this world-leading product at STL’s booth in IMC 2023. To mark the occasion, the minister demonstrated the process of splicing or joining two strands of optical fiber, a highly precise and critical step in fiber optic network construction.

STL’s 160-micron optical fiber cable packs an incredible three times more capacity than traditional 250-micron fiber. This groundbreaking technology was conceived and developed indigenously at STL’s Centre of Excellence in Maharashtra, positioning STL as one of the first companies globally to develop and patent this cutting-edge innovation.

STL’s 160-micron optical fiber, with a reduced cable diameter of 6.4mm (approximately 32 percent smaller than traditional 250-micron fiber), promises to revolutionize deployment, bandwidth capacity, and the environmental footprint of networks. The potential impact of this innovation on India’s broadband landscape is substantial.

For instance, in a massive project like Bharatnet, where India aims to deploy approximately 20 million fiber kilometers by 2025, using the 160-micron fiber instead of the standard 250-micron fiber could reduce deployment time by about 15 percent and decrease the plastic footprint in the ground by approximately 30 percent.

Badri Gomatam, Group Chief Technology Officer at STL, said: “This slimmest fiber is a noteworthy development and reflects our commitment to innovation and continuous R&D efforts in photonics and materials science.”

The incremental reduction in fiber size below 250 microns presents a considerable challenge, capturing the imagination of optical experts worldwide. Challenges include enhanced sensitivity towards micro-bending and increased complexity in the fiber drawing process.

STL’s 160-micron optical fiber meets telecom-grade optical performance standards and complies with the ITU G.657A2 standard. This announcement follows a series of innovations by STL’s R&D experts, including India’s first multicore fiber with four times the capacity and an 180-micron fiber.

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