Microsoft made an unannounced acquisition of specialty fibre provider Lumenisity for an undisclosed sum, with the goal of strengthening its cloud infrastructure and better serving use cases with severe latency and security needs.

Lumenisity’s staff will reportedly join Microsoft as part of the agreement to assist the firm in developing new networking and infrastructure solutions.

Lumenisity offers hollow core fibre, which replaces the glass core found in typical fibre cabling with an air-filled central channel. The concept is predicated on the premise that light travels quicker through the air than through glass, and that enabling it to do so can boost speeds and decrease latency. While hollow core fibre is not a new technology, Lumenisity has developed a version that considerably reduces loss per kilometer.

Girish Bablani, Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Azure Core, stated in a blog that hollow core fibre can assist firms in the healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail, and public sector sectors in addition to its own infrastructure.

“HCF could provide enhanced security and intrusion detection for federal and local governments across the globe,” he wrote. The technology’s high-bandwidth capabilities could also “help accelerate medical image retrieval, facilitating providers’ ability to ingest, persist and share medical imaging data in the cloud,” while financial institutions could use it for “fast, secure transactions.”
Indeed, Lumenisity has drawn interest from big-name companies before, including U.K. operator BT and U.S. cable giant Comcast.

BT began testing Lumenisity’s technology in June 2021, with plans to use it in mobile network deployments. In September of that year, it teamed up with Lumenisity once more to test quantum key distribution over hollow core fibre in order to improve security.

Comcast was also interested in Lumenisity’s solution earlier this year. It demonstrated that the hollow core fibre was backward compatible by testing speeds ranging from 10 Gbps to 400 Gbps across a 40-kilometer link. Comcast executive Elad Nafshi stated at the time that Lumenisity’s fibre may be utilized for use cases ranging from financial services to medical and virtual reality.

Just three months ago, euNetworks in the United Kingdom built a 14-kilometer stretch of Lumenisity’s hollow core fibre between London and Basildon to connect two data centres.