Space division multiplexing (SDM) is mainly seen as a means to increase data throughput and handle exponential traffic growth in future optical networks. But its role is certainly more diverse. Research on SDM encourages device integration, brings new functionality to network elements, and helps optical networks to evolve. As a result, the number of individual components in future networks will decrease, which in turn will improve overall network reliability and reduce power consumption as well as operational expenditure. After reviewing the state-of-the-art in SDM fiber research and development with a particular focus on weakly coupled single-mode multi-core fibers, we take a look beyond the capabilities of SDM as a means of boosting transmission capacity and discuss ideas and concepts on how to exploit the spatial dimension for improved efficiency and resource sharing in optical networks.
© 2017 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
27 February 2017: A correction was made to the title.
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