BT and Alcatel Lucent test 1.4Tbps broadband

The two firms ran the trial over existing infrastructure and claim it is the fastest speed to have ever been achieved over commercial grade hardware

A broadband trial in the UK has seen internet speeds of 1.4Tbps racing across existing infrastructure.

The test was set up by BT and Alcatel Lucent over a 255 mile (410km) stretch between the BT Tower in central London and BT’s Adastral Park research centre in Suffolk to trial a new method of using existing commercial hardware for transferring data over fibre.

Flexible Grid technology – or FlexGrid – changes the gaps between transmission channels, which are traditionally set at 50GHz. Instead, the companies laid an alien super channel of seven 200Gbps channels, bundled together over the current network, and reduced the spacing to 35GHz using the 400Gbps Photonic Services Engine (PSE) technology on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS).  

By increasing this density, BT and Alcatel Lucent were able to increase speeds by up to 42.5% compared to standard networks of today.

BT hopes this method could enable them to increase the capacity of their network without having to dig up more ground and lay more fibre.  

“This outstanding achievement demonstrates that BT can easily introduce new features and technologies across our core network, maximising the efficiency of our existing infrastructure,” said Neil J. McRae, chief network architect at BT.

“Working with Alcatel-Lucent on this trial has been highly productive in demonstrating the viability of an alien wavelength approach.”

It may be some time before these speeds reach the consumer market, but BT has been reassured when its £2bn commercial roll-out is completed by the End of Spring 2014, there will be ways of souping the network up without going underground.

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