BT sets fibre broadband record with 1.4Tbps connection

Broadband speed

BT and Alcatel-Lucent have set a data transfer over fibre record of 1.4Tbps using an existing network connection based on commercially available hardware.

The record was set using a new technology called Flexgrid (Flexible Grid). This increases the density of channels. The technique mean reserachers could increase data transmission rates by 42.5 per cent.

The trials were carried out during October and November last year. It uses an existing 41km fibre optic link between BT's Adastral Park research campus in Ipswich and the BT Tower in London.

The speed of 1.4Tbps was achieved after combining seven 200Gbps channels to transmit data along the fibre, a so-called "Alien Super Channel".

To do this BT and Alcatel-Lucent engineers decreased the spacing between channels from 50GHz to 35GHz. This delivered a record-breaking spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz, both firms claimed.

The trail's success could mean much faster wide area networks for organisations using existing Alcatel-Lucent equipment, such as the 1830 Photonic Service Switch. The connection would be able to send 44 uncompressed HD films down the line every second.

"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 maximising 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 has a long history of leading innovation in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today's global fibre networks," said Dr Tim Whitley, BT's director of research and innovation.

"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"

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.