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Microsoft acquires UK-based fibre provider Lumenisity

Written by Thu 15 Dec 2022

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Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Lumenisity, a UK-based startup focused on creating physical networking products for enterprise-level organisations. This acquisition will allow Microsoft to bolster global cloud infrastructure offerings, improving latency and security for cloud customers.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This is the end of the beginning, and we are excited to start our new chapter as part of Microsoft to fulfil this technology’s full potential and continue our pursuit of unlocking new capabilities in communication networks. We are proud to be acquired by a company with a shared vision that will accelerate our progress in the hollow core space,” wrote Lumenisity in a blog post.

What is hollow core fibre?

Lumenisity’s product is uniquely designed to propagate light in an air core, eliminating the silica centre present in traditional fibre connections. This change allows for 47% speed increase over traditional silica glass core. It also improves intrusion detection for better security, and low signal loss which will allow for deployment over longer distances without the need for repeaters.

Moreover, hollow core fibre technology eliminates fiber nonlinearities and the need for broader spectrum usages, which reduces operating costs, improves network quality, and increases available bandwidth for even faster transmissions.

“HCF can provide benefits across a broad range of industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail and government. For the public sector, HCF could provide enhanced security and intrusion detection for federal and local governments across the globe. In healthcare, because HCF can accommodate the size and volume of large data sets, it could help accelerate medical image retrieval, facilitating providers’ ability to ingest, persist and share medical imaging data in the cloud. And with the rise of the digital economy, HCF could help international financial institutions seeking fast, secure transactions across a broad geographic region,” wrote Girish Bablani, CVP of Microsoft’s Azure Core business.

Because hollow core fibre (HCF) products improve the latency and security of data transmission, they are well-suited to those industries that are highly regulated and require high-capacity, low-latency, secure and high-speed transmission to provide critical services. Specific industries that may benefit from access to HCF technology include healthcare, finance, manufacturing, retail, and government.

Lumenisity technology was recently tested by British Telecom (BT), which measured the performance of HCF over 10 km distances. While the company reported transmission losses of approximately 1 dB/km, similar to single-mode fibre, the University of Southhampton previously reported transmission loss as low as 0.28 dB/km in uncabled HCF.

Comcast deployed a 40km link in the US to test upstream and downstream data transmissions, and encouragingly reported a 150% increase in data speed and 33% reduction in latency.

In September of this year, euNetworks became the first business to utilise hollow core technology in commercial applications. Paula Cogan, President of euNetworks, said: “From the initial 1km pilot, the teams have gone on to deploy hollow core cable lengths of 7km and 14 km in our network, as well as successfully blending HCF with regular single-mode fibre on this latest route.”

“We continue to be focused on delivering the best possible bandwidth solutions for our customers and look forward to deploying longer routes with Lumenisity in the coming quarters. Leading the market in fibre-based ultra-low latency services throughout Europe remains a key focus for euNetworks.”

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Written by Thu 15 Dec 2022

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