BT and Huawei send 400Gbps down Dublin-Belfast pipe

The first successful trial of cross-border ultrafast transmissions heralds the commercial deployment of 400Gbps broadband in Ireland

BT and technology supplier Huawei have successfully trialled 400Gbps fibre broadband over the optical fibres connecting Dublin and Belfast.

The first trial of its kind to take place in either the UK and Ireland, BT and Huawei ran a 400Gbps transmission across existing live 10Gbps, 40Gbps and 100Gbps wavelengths.

The trial proved that BT’s current cross-border core network can support next-generation transmission technology, and revealed how the fibre network could be exploited in the future.

BT said it planned to deploy both 200Gbps and 400Gbps commercial speeds on the BT Ireland core transmission network by March 2015, from both Dublin and Belfast.

BT Ireland managing director Alex Crossan said the telecoms firm had chosen to perform its trials in Ireland because of its network and an optimal distance of approximately 200km between the two cities.

The link between Dublin and Belfast shares wavelengths with the existing live commercial BT Ireland dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) network between Dublin and Dundalk, which carries 10Gbps, 40Gbps and 100Gbps customer wavelengths.

The 400Gbps signal comprises two 200Gbps (16-QAM) in adjacent 50GHz wavelength slots and can be selectively configured to any wavelength slots available on the live network.

“The results demonstrate how we can maximise the efficiency of our network investment, building on our core network infrastructure whilst continuing to meet the ever-increasing needs of our customers in a fast evolving digital world,” said Crossan.

“These in-life trials have also been crucial in understanding the capabilities of these new technologies, and have allowed us to accelerate our plans to deploy with confidence in the very near future.”

Huawei president of products and solutions, Ryan Ding, added: “With the rapid growth of mobile broadband and video services generating tremendous volumes of traffic for backbone networks, the time is now for 400Gbps.”

Ding said Huawei remained committed to improving network performance and capacity, and eliminating bottlenecks to help carrier customers build future-proofed fibre backbones.

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