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BT Field Trials Fibre Network with Adtran’s Pluggable 100Gbps Transceiver

Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2024 (1:53 pm) - Score 5,520

Network technology firm Adtran and UK broadband giant BT Group today revealed that they’ve conducted Europe’s “first successful field trial” of optical transport in a live research network, using Adtran’s Coherent 100ZR pluggable transceiver – achieving “high levels of spectral efficiency and low power consumption.”

Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) Optical Transceivers are a compact (a little bigger than a USB flash drive), hot swap-able device (i.e you don’t have to shut down the network to add it) for connecting a network device to a fibre optic network cable. But Adtran’s new kit is said to be the market’s first QSFP28 pluggable device for 100Gbit/s Dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) coherent transmission, which is compliant with the 5W QSFP28 specification.

NOTE: The Q in QSFP28 stands for quad (4 channels), while the number 28 means that each lane can carry a data rate of up to 28Gbps – this label thus identifies the device’s total performance capabilities.

The new trial is said to have successfully demonstrated the transceiver’s ability to enable the transport of 100Gbit/s wavelengths, over longer distances, across routes at metro and edge aggregation networks, offering scalable and efficient solutions for the future.

The trial itself was conducted across a complex network infrastructure, spanning 90km over a third-party optical line system, incorporating four ROADM nodes and six amplifiers. Utilizing a tight 50GHz ROADM channel, the trial achieved enhanced spectral efficiency. Operating at less than 5 watts, the trial also said to have set new benchmarks for energy efficiency.

Andrew Lord, BT’s Senior Manager of Optics Research, said:

“Adtran’s plug-and-play solution has enabled us to demonstrate the feasibility of boosting capabilities within existing networks and doing so in a cost-effective and scalable manner. As we continue to innovate and push boundaries, technologies like this will be instrumental in achieving our goals for a greener, more efficient telecommunications landscape.”

Ryan Schmidt, GM of Optical Transport at Adtran, said:

“Together with BT Group, we’ve showcased a method for transforming network infrastructure with highly efficient, low-power solutions. It’s a strategy that requires significantly less equipment and fewer sites. The demo also proves the advantages of deploying one amplifier in the optical line system rather than multiple amplifiers within each transceiver module. This streamlined approach helps boost network performance, reduces operational spending and shrinks carbon footprint.

As well as big potential savings – as much as 50% in some cases – this strategy offers a clear path to more sustainable network development.”

The announcement contains a bucket load of jargon, which will no doubt be unfamiliar to some people. But this is all about creating a more energy efficient network, at a lower cost, that can handle greater data capacities and be introduced into BT’s (Openreach) existing live fibre optic network infrastructure.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    Does that suggest that if suggest that when Openreach upgrade from GPON they are looking to bypass XGS-PON and go for something faster than that?

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      It doesn’t, no.

    2. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      this is more about inter-exchange links and the like. maybe some ultra high end leased lines.

      nothing to do with PON.

    3. Avatar photo GG says:

      Yes, Openreach will sell 25gbps to isp, so customers stuck on gpon can be on higher speeds than XGS, straight to 25g.

    4. Avatar photo XGS says:

      All the Adtran OLTs Openreach use have 100G ports so if you can work out their plans from their specific use of these optics you’re smarter than I am.

      Something the Adtran OLTs don’t do, however, is 25GPON. They skipped it to go straight to 50GPON. There is definitely no 50GPON kit appropriate for the mass market arriving any time soon: Nokia only released a reasonably sized 25GPON ONT this month having championed 25GPON for years and tested it with Openreach in 2021.

  2. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    GG: By the time BT do XGS-PON competition will be on 300G or higher 😉

    1. Avatar photo Tyler says:

      Don’t think so some how…
      Most will be well gone!!
      Most haven’t a clue what it costs to run a infrastructure and run out of money crying

    2. Avatar photo Martin says:

      I’m not sure how many of the altnets will be junking/selling off XGS-PON gear any time soon to move to a faster speed. It’s not just the exchange kit, but all the ONTs as well.

      No doubt in 10 years time we’ll see a refresh, and maybe in a couple of years newly rolled out areas will get faster kit,but the rollouts will be slowing soon anyway no doubt

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