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UK fibre optic trial achieves 1.4 terabit network link

All hail the Alien Superchannel
Thu Jan 23 2014, 10:49

BRITISH BOFFINS have smashed the speed record for an internet connection in a real world environment.

A consortium of Alcatel-Lucent and BT sent signals from the BT Tower in London to BT's research facility at Adastral Park in Suffolk.

The signal reached a speed of 1.4 terabits per second with a spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz over an existing fibre infrastructure.

In real terms, that is the equivalent of downloading 44 full length, high definition movies in a single second.

The experiment used a "Flexigrid" infrastructure to vary the gaps between transmission channels, usually set at a static 50GHz, to increase the data transmission rate by 42.5 percent over standard methods.

Data was sent over what the researchers called an Alien Superchannel - sadly, not a Martian version of the pioneering early '90s satellite television network, but rather a transparent layer over the top of existing transmissions on the fibre optic network.

"BT has a long history of leading innovation in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today's global fiber networks." said Dr Tim Whitley, head of BT Research and Innovation.

"These trials continue that tradition,as we work with Alcatel-Lucent to push the boundaries of fiber 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.”

These tests are part of an overall BT strategy to squeeze more out of the fibre optic network, and these encouraging results that showed the data was clean and glitch free suggest that the partnership is moving in the right direction towards speeds that even ten years ago were considered unachievable. µ


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