1.4 Tbps sustained over a commercial network!
By   |  March 12, 2014

Month after month, records get broken. At the same time, it’s precisely what they’re made for… At ISC 2013, we reported on Alcatel Lucent’s and T-Mobile’s successful experiment, which consisted in sending a sustained 400 Gbps dataflow between two climatology and industrial digital simulation applications. This was already far beyond the standards at the “time,” even though the communication had been conducted under near-experimental conditions. Well, we just learned this month that Alcatel has done it again, in partnership with British Telecom, this time with a sustained flow rate of 1.4 Tbps – in itself nothing to sneer at – on an existing production network. You read correctly: neither the hardware nor the fibers had to be changed.

The achievement took place in October 2013 on a fiber-optic network connecting the BT Tower in London to the Adastral Park University campus in Suffolk, but it was not made public until this month. To disbelievers who would object that this performance is not such a big deal because of the pull of gravity along the North-South direction, let us add that the flow rate was achieved in both directions! Seriously, Alcatel said that all it had to do was reprogram its hardware platforms. It is therefore an important advancement from an industrial standpoint. For example, Huawei had demonstrated a 2 Tbps rate over the Vodafone network a few months ago, but with substantial modifications to the existing infrastructure.

The bar is now set to 10 Tb. In the laboratory, Alcatel successfully sent 31 Tbps over an underwater fiber measuring 7200 km long, with optical amplifiers every 100 km, while NEC and Verizon have reached 40.5 Tbps over 1800 km of “conventional” fiber. Each of these two companies is hinting at new announcements for SC 2014 which, let’s not forget, is also the high performance communications conference…

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