Alcatel-Lucent and BT hit record broadband speed

Tests reach 'real world' speeds of up to 1.4Tb/s, enough to transfer 44 HD movies per second

Tags: Alcatel-LucentBTBroadbandUnited Kingdom
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Alcatel-Lucent and BT hit record broadband speed The network test was conducted from the BT Tower in London. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  January 23, 2014

Alcatel-Lucent and BT have recorded the highest ever ‘real world' broadband speeds in tests conducted in the UK. The network reached a record transfer speed of 1.4Tb/s, the equivalent of transmitting 44 high definition films in a second.

The testing, which transmitted a signal over 410km, between the landmark BT Tower in central London and the BT Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk, used existing core fibre network equipment, as part of research into getting the most performance from current network infrastructure.

The transmission had a record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz) and 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 fiber, this approach achieved up to 42.5% 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 (Gb/s) channels bundled together to provide a combined capacity of 1.4Tb/s. By reducing the spectral spacing between the channels from 50GHz to 35GHz using the 400Gb/s 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.   

Dr Tim Whitley, BT's MD of Research and Innovation said: "BT has a long history of leading innovation in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today's global fibre networks. These trials continue that tradition as we work with Alcatel-Lucent to push the boundaries of fibre 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, Alcatel-Lucent UK & Ireland added: "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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