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BT, Alcatel-Lucent reach 1.4-terabit speeds in fiber optic testing

updated 01:54 pm EST, Wed January 22, 2014

Flexgrid system testing increased bandwidth over existing fiber infrastructure

BT has worked with Alcatel-Lucent in the United Kingdom to achieve what the companies are calling the fastest "real-world" network connection. In a trial, the two companies saw speeds peaking at 1.4Tb/s over a pre-existing core fiber connection and using commercial grade hardware, something which is the equivalent of transmitting 44 uncompressed HD films in one second.

Using a connection between the BT Tower in London and a research campus 410km (255 miles) away, the team reached a spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz, as part of a test of a "flexible grid" or "Flexgrid" infrastructure. Flexgrid allows for the connection to vary the gaps between transmission channels, something usually set to 50GHz, with the channel density increase allowing for up to 42.5-percent greater data transmission efficiency compared to normal commercial fiber networks.

BT Home Hub
BT Home Hub



A key part of the Flexgrid trial is that it used existing infrastructure and commercial equipment, which in theory means that telecommunications companies could deploy the system across its networks without needing to lay more physical cable, and therefore save money. Though this would not directly help normal broadband users in the immediate future, the connection's extra bandwidth will help minimize bottlenecks in a major part of the telecommunications network in the long term. It also paves the way for high-bandwidth Internet services that are in development, such as 4K-resolution video streams from Netflix.



By Electronista Staff
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