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BT & Huawei achieve real-world super channel speed of 3Tbps

Speed achieved over a fully-managed core Flexgrid optical network

Record spectral efficiency of 5.97bit/s/Hz

Equivalent to transmitting around 100 HD movies per second

[London, 8th October 2015], BT and Huawei today announced field trial speeds of up to three Terabits per second (Tbps), believed to be the fastest real-time super channel speeds ever achieved over an existing fibre link using commercial grade hardware and software in a real world operational environment. The speeds are the equivalent to transmitting around 100 HD films in a single second.

The record transmission, which was conducted over a 359 kilometre field fibre link between BT’s Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk and the BT Tower in London, used an advanced ‘Flexgrid’ infrastructure with Huawei’s OSN 9800/8800 and iManager U2000 platform. This approach increases the capacity on a fibre cable by compressing the gaps between transmission channels, usually set at 50GHz. The technique increases the density of channels on a fibre, making it around 50 percenti more efficient than today’s typical core network links.

The results demonstrate how BT’s core fibre optic infrastructure could work even more efficiently in the future, reducing the need to invest in more cables as bandwidth demands from consumers and businesses continue to grow.

Key Facts:

BT and Huawei successfully demonstrated a number of world-leading high-speed technical achievements, including:

  • l A real-time 3Tbps super channel, comprising of 15 x 200Gbps (16-QAM) sub channels, bundled together to provide combined capacity.
  • l 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.
  • l A 3Tbps super channel, configured and monitored from a live operational environment: BT’s Transport Network Operations Centre (TNOC) in Cambridge.
  • l Trials performed using production grade 16-QAM transponders, Flexgrid hardware and management software.
  • l Spectral width configured in slices of 12.5GHz, up to a total spectral slot of 550GHz.

Neil J. McRae, Chief Network Architect at BT 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.”

Dr Tim Whitley, BT’s MD of Research and Innovation said: “BT’s history of innovation is well-documented and more than 175 years after the invention of the electric telegraph, this new record shows how we’re still pushing the boundaries in the art of connecting.

“Our R&D teams at Adastral Park and other research centres in the UK, Asia, Middle-East and North America are all working flat-out on a range of forward-looking projects to keep BT ahead of the curve. They’re developing the innovative services that our customers around the world will continue to take advantage of, and today’s record is another example of the pioneering endeavour that we hope will benefit both our customers and shareholders well into the future.”

Zha Jun, President of Huawei's Fixed Network Business Unit. "We are very pleased to have worked with BT to deliver a new world record data transmission speed over an optical fibre link in an operational network environment. In September we committed to invest over $4 billion in Fixed Broadband (FBB) technology research and development over the next three years. This investment will focus on products and solutions, which will support our customers, such as BT, with providing an improved service experience for their customers."

“We are living in a data-led world where the need to transmit data at ever-increasing speeds is vital. This is a challenge we have worked with BT to address and the trial is part of that. One of the strengths of our 10-year partnership with BT is our collaboration in developing and implementing technical solutions that more efficiently use BT’s existing infrastructure and today’s announcement exemplifies our commitment to innovation.”

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