A revolutionary connection: How fibre optic networks are transforming high-speed data transmission

Across communities and industries, we’re seeing powerful new technologies being developed and refined, some right here in our region of Ottawa-Gatineau. These technologies are transforming how we collaborate, communicate, and operate. High speed connectivity is not only helping businesses stay competitive, but it’s also being used to innovate healthcare practices, improve quality of life for Ottawa’s citizens, and enhance student learning.

Behind these game-changing technologies are fibre optic networks. These networks are powering the latest innovations, which could not operate on traditional copper-based connections. In comparison, fibre connections have the low latency, high capacity, and extreme reliability needed to run data-intensive applications and large-scale operations.

Here are a few ways that fibre optic connectivity is supporting the most advanced technology and transforming how we live, work, and learn.

Enhancing patient care and accelerating medical advancements

Advances in medical technology are leading to enhanced surgical precision, immersive medical training, and improved patient monitoring. Reliable connectivity is critical for hospitals and care facilities. Fibre optics ensures that medical tools and devices always operate at peak efficiency and that healthcare providers can collaborate in real-time, whether in the same or different locations.

Emerging trends supported by fibre connectivity:

  • Remote robotic surgery: In robotic surgical systems, surgeons operate mechanical arms from a console, which gives them more precision and control compared to the human hand. Though surgeons are typically located nearby, with the right connectivity doctors can operate surgical robots remotely—which means people living in remote communities in Canada could access specialists located anywhere. But when even a few seconds of delay can be critical, the high bandwidth and low latency of fibre connectivity can ensure a smooth operation.

  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): Wearables, monitors, sensors, and other IoMT devices can be used to track and understand blood pressure, glucose levels, chronic diseases, and more. IoMT devices generate and transmit large amounts of data—the high bandwidth and rapid speeds of fibre allow for real-time information transfer so that doctors can have better insight into a patient’s health.

  • Remote patient monitoring: When patients are discharged from the hospital, advancements in remote patient monitoring enable patients to get quality care from the comfort of their own homes. Healthcare providers can remotely monitor a patient’s vitals and check in through a combination of phone calls, face-to-face visits, and virtual visits. For remote consultations, a fibre connection provides the high-speed and security needed to discuss confidential patient health information.

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) medical training: AR and VR are becoming increasingly popular in medical schools because they allow medical students to get hands-on practice in a safe, simulated operating room environment. A study from UCLA found that VR training improved participants’ overall surgical performance by 230 percent compared to traditional training methods. Because AR and VR tools involve high-quality graphics, 3D environments, and large amounts of data, fibre connectivity can support the best user experience.

Revamping urban infrastructure and improving quality of life

Fibre optics provides the backbone for 5G, enabling 5G networks to offer ultra-low latency and high-speed connectivity. This connectivity is paving the way for smart city technologies like autonomous vehicles, intelligent management systems, and environmental sensors. Real-time monitoring and data-informed decision-making means that communities can better work towards improving health and safety, sustainability, and overall quality of life for their citizens. 

Emerging trends supported by fibre connectivity:                        

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Sensors, cameras, lights, meters, and other IoT devices are being used in smart cities to improve infrastructure and services, from traffic monitoring to waste management. For example, fibre connectivity enables systems such as smart traffic management to detect delays or congestion and then adjust the timing of traffic lights based on current conditions.

  • Data-driven city planning: 5G connectivity allows cities to gather and process large amounts of real-time data from their network of sensors and IoT devices. This empowers city planners to make data-informed decisions that improve urban design, infrastructure, and services. Take smart waste management systems for example. Waste collection bins with sensors send information when a bin is full—this data can then be used to optimize waste collection routes and schedules.

  • Environmental sustainability: Smart grids and smart building technologies are changing the way energy is consumed and helping lower carbon emissions. Smart grids can optimize electricity distribution and smart buildings can adjust heat and air conditioning based on factors like building occupancy and the weather. Fibre optics’ high speeds can also help cities share real-time air-quality information with the public so they can take protective measures. This can potentially reduce negative health effects by 3 to 15 percent.

  • Public safety video surveillance: Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, intelligent video analytics can detect and flag relevant footage in the surveillance of public spaces. The lightning-fast speeds of fibre help this technology operate smoothly so that law enforcement can act quickly. In addition, 5G connectivity in emergency response vehicles, including police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks, can help improve response times by providing access to real-time data.

Personalizing educational experiences and improving learning outcomes

While online learning is not a new concept, the rapid shift to virtual classrooms during the pandemic accelerated its adoption and popularity. Now as online learning has become the norm for many, fibre connectivity is giving educators and students rapid access to the next generation of learning tools and applications. New technologies are leading to unique classroom experiences and personalized learning pathways, as well as the increased safety and well-being of students.

Emerging trends supported by fibre connectivity:

  • Adaptive learning systems: The high bandwidth capabilities of fibre mean that data analytics and machine learning algorithms can effectively collect, process, and analyze large amounts of data on learner preferences and performance in real-time. Students come in with different levels of prior knowledge—with adaptive learning systems, learning content is adjusted to a student’s abilities, empowering students to take ownership of their learning journey while getting real-time automated feedback.

  • AR and VR learning experiences: Immersive technologies are transforming how students engage with course content by providing interactive learning environments that bridge the gap between theory and practice. Engineering students can practice operating complex machinery, biology students can view 3D cell structures, and history students can explore cultural landmarks that may be inaccessible in person. The speed of a fibre connection delivers the best user experience for these technologies.

  • Automation of administrative tasks: Educators’ roles are not limited to teaching—a significant amount of their time is also spent completing admin work. In a survey of teachers, 44 percent of participants ranked “taking attendance, making copies, and other administrative tasks” as the top duty AI robots could do to assist teachers. The high speeds of fibre allow for efficient use of applications and services that can automate tasks like registrations, communications, and online assessments. This ultimately frees up educators’ time to focus on mentoring students, resolving conflicts, and improving learning outcomes.

  • Cloud-based safety systems: Schools need to be easily accessed by students, staff, and visitors without allowing unauthorized visitors. Cloud-based systems are now being used to store, manage, and analyze data for more effective security. For example, smart door locks can be used for science labs, libraries, or staff offices. In the event of a lockdown, the reliability of a fibre connection is essential for a school to remotely control and restrict access to a building or campus.

Finding the right fibre network provider for your Ottawa-Gatineau business

Fibre optics is powering innovations that transform the way we live, learn, and work. For businesses that are looking to stay connected and competitive, finding a fast and reliable network provider is essential.

But with fibre connectivity solutions increasing in availability, how do you choose between the many different providers? Here are a few factors to consider when looking for the right fibre network provider for your business:

  • Reliability: Outages can disrupt business operations and negatively impact productivity and customer satisfaction. Look for a provider who offers extremely low latency and a high network uptime so your business stays online and connected all the time.

  • Speed: There is no one speed fits all for businesses. Ultimately, you’ll want a provider who offers a range of speeds that can keep up with the size and demand of your business—and who makes it easy to scale your connectivity needs as your business grows.

  • Customer Service: If you have ever had to call your internet service provider, you’re likely familiar with long hold times and endless transfers. Opt for a provider who is committed to offering customer service on your terms and who takes the time to truly understand your business’s needs.

With 99.999% uptime, speeds up to 100 Gig per second, and a dedicated team based right in Ottawa-Gatineau, Hiboo Networks is the National Capital Region’s local alternative for fibre connectivity solutions. Book a consultation call today with one of our local fibre network experts to get started!

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How does fibre optic work?

Fibre optic internet transmits data as pulses of light that travel through fibre optic cables. These cables, which are often buried underground, are made of thin strands of glass or plastic. They allow for information to travel longer distances at lightning-fast speeds. Unlike traditional copper-based cables, fibre optics do not use electricity, making it less susceptible to electromagnetic interference or weather-related outages.

Can you extend a fibre optic cable?

Fibre optic cabling can be extended by splicing or by using connectors. In fibre optic splicing, two separate fibre optic cables are fused to create a continuous connection. This is typically used to extend the reach of a fibre optic network or to repair a damaged cable. Another way to extend a cable is through fibre optic connectors, which connect to the ends of fibre optic cables. Unlike splicing, which fuses the cables permanently, fibre optic connectors are detachable–however, this generally leads to more signal loss than splicing. Like with any fibre optic installation, extending a fibre optic cable requires professional installation and expertise to ensure the performance of the extended fibre connection.

What is fibre internet?

Fibre internet (also called fibre optic internet) is a type of high-speed internet that uses fibre optic cables. These cables are made of thin strands of glass or plastic, and information is transmitted through them as pulses of light. Fibre optic cables allow for information to travel longer distances, at lightning-fast speeds. Across Canada, fibre optic network providers are increasing the availability of fibre services to more regions, making fibre internet an ideal choice for large businesses who need fast and reliable connectivity.