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Alcatel-Lucent and BT achieve fastest real-world fiber speeds of 1.4Tb/s with a world record spectral efficiency of 5.7b/s/Hz over core network

-- New 'flexible grid' infrastructure allows more efficient bundling of channels, (42.5% increase in spectral efficiency) and data speeds of up to 1.4 Terabits per second (Tb/s) achieved without deployment of more fiber

PARIS, Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and BT have today announced trial speeds of up to 1.4Tb/s with a record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz)  on an existing core fiber connection. This is believed to be the fastest speed ever achieved in commercial grade hardware in a real-world environment and is equivalent to transmitting 44 uncompressed HD films in a single second.

The field trial, conducted over an existing fiber link between the BT Tower in London and BT's Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk, used a new 'flexible grid' infrastructure (Flexgrid) to vary the gaps between transmission channels, usually set at 50 Gigahertz (GHz). By increasing the density of channels on the fiber, this approach achieved up to 42.5 percent greater data transmission efficiency compared to today's standard networks.

The trial demonstrated that use of the Flexgrid approach can increase BT's core network capacity using existing optical fibers, potentially reducing the expense of laying more fiber as bandwidth demands grow. This could allow BT to more easily scale its core network capacity to meet consumer and business demands for more bandwidth-hungry services such as streaming video, whilst more efficiently using its existing core fiber infrastructure.

The trial was conducted through the overlaying of an "Alien Super Channel" comprised of seven 200 Gigabits per second (Gb/s) channels bundled together to provide a combined capacity of 1.4 Tb/s. By reducing the spectral spacing between the channels from 50GHz to 35GHz using the 400Gb/s Photonic Services Engine (PSE) technology on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), spectral efficiency is enhanced by almost 43%. The 1830 PSS can be used as an optical extension shelf of the 7750 Service Router (SR) and the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS). Flexgrid is the key to creating high-capacity, spectrally efficient super channels. The super channel is "alien" because it operates transparently on top of BT's existing optical network.   

Key Facts:

  • During October and November of 2013, BT and Alcatel-Lucent successfully demonstrated a number of world-leading high-speed alien wavelength technical achievements, including a record spectral efficiency of 5.7b/s/Hz which is equivalent to fitting a 1Tb super channel in less than 200GHz spectrum.
  • The speeds were achieved on a 410km fiber link between BT's Adastral Park research campus in Ipswich and the BT Tower in London
  • The trials were performed using production equipment that was software reconfigurable between 200Gb/s using 16 QAM modulation and 100Gb/s using QPSK modulation
  • Alien Wavelengths allow telecom operators like BT to introduce new features and technology without the need to update the existing optical transport infrastructure
  • Flexgrid maximizes the spectral efficiency of the installed fiber infrastructure, deferring the need to deploy costly new fiber infrastructure
  • Trial and evaluation of the 1.4Tb/s alien super channel showed stable, error-free operation, when being transmitted with a mix of 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s native wavelengths. This was achieved for standard 50GHz sub-channel spacing and for flexgrid with sub-channel spacing down to 35GHz
  • Working with BT to efficiently and cost effectively increase high-speed network capacity is aligned with the The Shift Plan, the industrial strategy to reposition Alcatel-Lucent as a specialist vendor of IP Networking and Ultra-Broadband Access

Neil J. McRae, Chief Network Architect at BT said: "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. Working with Alcatel-Lucent on this trial has been highly productive in demonstrating the viability of an alien wavelength approach"

Dr Tim Whitley, BT's MD of Research and Innovation said: "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 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" 

Cormac Whelan, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent UK & Ireland said: "As part of our long-standing relationship, BT and Alcatel-Lucent continue to work together to use innovation from Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent and BT Research and Development to move the industry forward and meet the ever evolving needs of the marketplace. These trials represent another step forwards by BT and Alcatel-Lucent in this continual evolution"

About BT
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group's reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.

The BT Group Newsroom can be contacted on its 24-hour number: +020-7356-5369. From outside the UK dial +44-20-7356-5369. Email: [email protected].

About Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU)
Alcatel-Lucent is at the forefront of global communications, providing products and innovations in IP and cloud networking, as well as ultra-broadband fixed and wireless access to service providers and their customers, enterprises and institutions throughout the world.

Underpinning Alcatel-Lucent in driving the industrial transformation from voice telephony to high-speed digital delivery of data, video and information is Bell Labs, an integral part of Alcatel-Lucent and one of the world's foremost technology research institutes, responsible for countless breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Alcatel-Lucent innovations have resulted in the company being recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 Global Innovator, as well as being named by MIT Technology Review as amongst 2012's Top 50 "World's Most Innovative Companies". Alcatel-Lucent has also been recognized for innovation in sustainability, being named Industry Group Leader for Technology Hardware & Equipment sector in the 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices review for making global communications more sustainable, affordable and accessible, all in pursuit of the company's mission to realize the potential of a connected world.

With revenues of Euro 14.4 billion in 2012, Alcatel-Lucent is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges (Euronext and NYSE: ALU). The company is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.

For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow the Company on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

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