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Britain Sets New Broadband Speed Record: 1.4 Terabytes per Second; ‘Exaflood’ Irrelevent

Phillip Dampier January 29, 2014 British Telecom, Broadband Speed, Consumer News No Comments

fiberFears that growing global Internet traffic might someday result in an Internet brownout were made irrelevant this week after Britain’s BT and Alcatel-Lucent achieved a new speed record in a field trial of ‘flexible grid’ infrastructure that reached 1.4 Terabits per second over an existing fiber network.

Flexgrid technology increases the density of individual transmission channels on traditional fiber networks, resulting in 42.5 percent better transmission efficiency over current standards.

“BT and Alcatel-Lucent are making more from what they’ve got,” explained Oliver Johnson, chief executive of broadband analyst firm Point Topic. “It allows them to increase their capacity without having to spend much more money.”

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.

btThe speeds were achieved on a standard 410km fiber link between BT’s Adastral Park research campus in Ipswich and the BT Tower in London.

The new transmission technology means existing fiber infrastructure can easily manage far faster speeds and more bandwidth without costly upgrades and more fiber installation.

alcatelWhile the new technology is unlikely to be deployed to individual customer homes and businesses, it is likely to become important for Internet backbone networks which handle connectivity between Internet Service Providers.

Companies like Cisco have warned for years that existing infrastructure might be unsuitable to manage the growth of Internet traffic, resulting in a potential “exaflood” of data over a congested Internet, resulting in “brownouts” that slow or stop Internet connections. But Alcatel-Lucent and BT have demonstrated that ongoing technological advances make such problems unlikely, because as Internet traffic increases, technological improvements assure that capacity keeps up at an affordable cost.

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