Alcatel-Lucent and BT unveil super fat pipe, splurt out 1.4Tb per second across London

It's not the size, it's how you use... the spectral efficiency


Alcatel-Lucent has teamed up with BT to test an "alien superchannel" across an existing fibre pipe, with the resulting record-breaking 1.4 Tbps they achieved able to transmit a five-month-long grumble flick in just one second.

The pair achieved 1.4 terabits per second using a BT's fibre-optic pipe between the BT Tower and BT's Adastral Park in Ipswich, but the really impressive achievement was the spectral efficiency: at 5.7 bits per second per Hertz, it is the highest ever recorded.

If we assume the average 15-minute, low-res blue movie is about 100 megabytes in size, this super fast connection could send 1,835 filthy videos (or 44 uncompressed "proper" films, as the PR bumpf would have it) in one second. That's enough rudeness to watch continuously for 19 days and nights.

You could also send 500,000 snaps of Justin Bieber in the blink of an eye, which means it would be just shy of two minutes before his 48 million Twitter followers are very happily gazing at their much-loved pint-sized troublemaker.

The trial made use of an existing 410km fibre link between the BT Tower and BT's Adastral Park using an "alien superchannel” featuring seven 200Gbps channels transmitted via Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS). The significance of the feat is that ISPs could cram a greater amount of information through existing broadband infrastructure - perhaps obviating the need for upgrades... and of course, locking in BT fibre-leasing revenues for the longer term.

After revealing the trial's titanic achievements, BT took the chance to big itself up.

"Investing for the future is core to BT's strategy and this outstanding achievement demonstrates that BT can easily introduce new features and technologies across our core network maximizing the efficiency of our existing infrastructure,” said Neil 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."

BT's MD of research and innovation Dr Tim Whitley added: "BT has a long history of leading innovation in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today's global fiber networks.

“These trials continue that tradition, as we work with Alcatel-Lucent to push the boundaries of fibre technology, allowing us to support the ever increasing bandwidth required by our customers, and deliver new and exciting services which rely on fast, data-hungry applications." ®

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