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BT Delivers 3Tbps via Existing 359km Commercial Grade Fibre Optic Link

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 (11:23 am) - Score 1,192
fibre optic fiber optic cables

BT and Huawei have successfully harnessed a “record spectral efficiency” of 5.97bit/s/Hz in order to deliver super channel speeds of 3Tbps (Terabits per second) over an existing 359km long fibre optic link using commercial grade hardware and software in a real world environment.

The connection itself, which made use of Huawei’s OSN 9800/8800 and iManager U2000 platform, was conducted using a field fibre optic link between the operators Adastral Park R&D HQ in Suffolk and the BT Tower in London. Apparently this approach works by compressing the gaps between transmission channels, usually set at 50GHz, which enabled it to be around 50% more efficient than a typical core network like.

The results also appear to represent an improvement on BT’s earlier test with Alcatel-Lucent, which in January 2014 used an almost identical link to deliver data speeds of up to 1.4Tbps (Terabits per second) via a spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (here). In both cases the ability to harness existing links and commercial kit is key to the attractiveness.

Neil J. McRae, BT’s Chief Network Architect, said:

Flexgrid technology is evolving quickly, and this trial has been invaluable in demonstrating the feasibility of this emerging technology in a real, truly testing environment.

Combined with BT’s continuing investment in its network infrastructure, this outstanding breakthrough suggests we’re well-prepared for a future where new and exciting services are delivered by faster, more data-hungry applications. The trial result also demonstrates how we’ll be able to maximise the efficiency of BT’s existing investments, extending the life of our core network infrastructure whilst continuing to meet the needs of a 21st Century digital society.”

Key Highlights of the Trial:

• A real-time 3Tbps super channel, comprising of 15 x 200Gbps (16-QAM) sub channels, bundled together to provide combined capacity.

• Sub channels separated by as little as 33.5GHz, resulting in record spectral efficiency of 5.97b/s/Hz – an increase of around 50 percent in spectral efficiency compared to conventional 50GHz fixed grid infrastructure.

• A 3Tbps super channel, configured and monitored from a live operational environment: BT’s Transport Network Operations Centre (TNOC) in Cambridge.

• Trials performed using production grade 16-QAM transponders, Flexgrid hardware and management software.

• Spectral width configured in slices of 12.5GHz, up to a total spectral slot of 550GHz.

It’s important to point out that such developments are currently more focused on helping operators like BT to deliver more capacity to other network operators, such as big broadband ISPs and mobile providers, rather than end-users. So you won’t be getting that 3Tbps link to your home for a very long time, although history does tend to show that corporate performance eventually filters down to home users too.

As it stands though BT has yet to launch an official product based on the new approaches they’re testing, although no doubt something will follow in the future. In the meantime the technology may eventually end up helping the operator to save money on their own capacity links.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar GNewton

    This is all good, but doesn’t mean anything to end users, most of whom are still using old-fashioned twisted-pair copper wires into their premises. Most of BTs copper is used for its backhaul, not the last miles!

    • I suppose that depends on your perspective of the broadband ecosystem. Ultimately anything that saves ISPs money when investing in future infrastructure and capacity could benefit the consumer.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Copper for backhaul?

    • Avatar Unknown101

      Think he means fibre.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      He’s too obsessed with running down BT to care 🙂

    • Avatar GNewton

      My last sentence should of course have read:

      “Most of BTs fibre is used for its backhaul, not the last miles!”

      Of course, these days it is not possible to post comments without some trolls having nothing better to do than … trolling:

      “He’s too obsessed with running down BT to care “

    • Avatar Chris Evans

      “Most of BTs copper is used for its backhaul, not the last miles!”

      Erm… BT uses fibre for its backhaul.

      This article can be good news – It could indicate cheaper/more ways to transport more data over core networks – Lowering the bill & lowering the congestion in some areas of ISP networks.

      Better than no news at all 🙂

  2. Avatar adslmax

    It will never gonna to happen in UK for the next 25 years!

  3. Avatar FibreFred

    There have been a few ground breaking trials recently and the same people have made the same out of touch comments

    This is core network, not something you’d expect to the home, being able to transmit huge amounts of traffic over existing infrastructure its a very big deal but hey lets just harp on about the same old BT gripes as good BT stories aren’t good reading 😉

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