Alcatel-Lucent and BT have announced broadband trial speeds of up to 1.4Tbps with a record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz) on an existing core fibre connection.
Obviously we won’t be seeing consumer-grade connections operating at 1.4Tbps any time soon (hardware limitation notwithstanding), but as far as network backhaul technology goes, this is an amazing advancement.
This is believed to be the fastest speed ever achieved in commercial grade hardware in a real-world environment.
1.4Tbps converts to roughly 175 gigabytes per second; I could transmit my entire Steam library in less than 10 seconds.
The field trial was conducted over an existing fibre link between the BT Tower in London and BT’s Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk.
The trial demonstrated that core network capacity can be increased using existing optical fibres, potentially reducing the expense of laying more fibre as bandwidth demands grow.
The trial used a new “flexible grid” infrastructure (Flexgrid) to vary the gaps between transmission channels, usually set at 50Gigahertz (GHz).
By increasing the density of channels on the fibre, this approach achieved up to 42.5 percent greater data transmission efficiency compared to today’s standard networks.
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 1.4Tbps.
By reducing the spectral spacing between the channels from 50GHz to 35GHz using the 400Gbps Photonic Services Engine (PSE) technology on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), spectral efficiency is enhanced by almost 43%.
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.