Alcatel-Lucent and BT achieve 1.4 Tbps speed

Alcatel-Lucent and BT have today announced trial speeds of up to 1.4 Tbps with a record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz)on an existing core fiber connection.

This is believed to be the fastest speed ever achieved in commercial grade hardware in a real-world environment and is equivalent to transmitting 44 uncompressed HD films in a single second.

The field trial, conducted over 410 km existing fiber link between the BT Tower in London and BT’s Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk, used a new ‘flexible grid’ infrastructure (Flexgrid) to vary the gaps between transmission channels, usually set at 50 Gigahertz (GHz). By increasing the density of channels on the fiber, this approach achieved up to 42.5 percent greater data transmission efficiency compared to today’s standard networks.

The trial demonstrated that use of the Flexgrid approach can increase BT’s core network capacity using existing optical fibers, potentially reducing the expense of laying more fiber as bandwidth demands grow.

This could allow BT to more easily scale its core network capacity to meet consumer and business demands for more bandwidth-hungry services such as streaming video, whilst more efficiently using its existing core fiber infrastructure.

The trial was conducted through the overlaying of an “Alien Super Channel” comprised of seven 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps) channels bundled together to provide a combined capacity of 1.4 Tbps. By reducing the spectral spacing between the channels from 50 GHz to 35 GHz using the 400 Gbps Photonic Services Engine (PSE) technology on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), spectral efficiency is enhanced by almost 43 percent.

The 1830 PSS can be used as an optical extension shelf of the 7750 Service Router (SR) and the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS). Flexgrid is the key to creating high-capacity, spectrally efficient super channels. The super channel is “alien” because it operates transparently on top of BT’s existing optical network.

Neil J McRae, chief network architect, BT said, “Investing for the future is core to BT’s strategy and this outstanding achievement demonstrates that BT can easily introduce new features and technologies across our core network maximizing the efficiency of our existing infrastructure. Working with Alcatel-Lucent on this trial has been highly productive in demonstrating the viability of an alien wavelength approach.”

Dr Tim Whitley, MD, Research and Innovation, BT said, “BT has along history of leading innovation in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today’s global fiber networks.These trials continue that tradition,as weworkwithAlcatel-Lucent to push the boundaries of fiber technology,allowing us to support the ever increasing bandwidth required by our customers, and deliver new and exciting services which rely on fast, data-hungry applications.”

Cormac Whelan, CEO, UK & Ireland, Alcatel-Lucent said, “As part of our long-standing relationship, BT and Alcatel-Lucent continue to work together to use innovation from Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent and BT Research and Development to move the industry forward and meet the ever evolving needs of the marketplace. These trials represent another step forwards by BT and Alcatel-Lucent in this continual evolution.”

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