Alcatel-Lucent, Telefónica trial 100, 200 and 400G bps links on live network

The high speeds are needed in core networks to handle growing data volumes

Alcatel-Lucent and Telefónica in Spain have successfully completed a trial that sent a mixture of 100Gbps, 200Gbps and 400Gbps data links over a single fiber pair.

The need for operators to upgrade their mobile networks to handle growing data volumes is getting a lot of attention, but growing consumption of, for example, streaming video is affecting their whole network infrastructures, and in the core parts data links at 400Gbps will help meet the increasing demands.

The use of the speed is still in its infancy, but vendors are taking small steps in the right direction. The field trial Alcatel-Lucent conducted with Telefónica was the first to mix and match links or wavelengths running at 100Gbps, 200Gbps and 400Gbps on a live network using WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing) technology. The distance was up to about 650 kilometers.

To perform the trial, Telefónica's network in Catalonia, Spain, was outfitted with Alcatel-Lucent's new 400G adaptive-modulation transponder and the ROADM (reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer) integrated in the vendor's 1830 Photonic Service Switch.

Previously this year Alcatel-Lucent also conducted 400Gbps tests with Canadian operator Shaw Communications and France Télécom. Both tests had a total network capacity of 17.6Tbps, which is the equivalent of 266 million voice calls or the transmission of 88 Blu-ray Discs in a single second, Alcatel-Lucent said at the time.

There is a growing interest in data communication links at 400Gbps and what they can be used for. The standards organization IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) recently formed a study group whose task will be to start the development of 400 Gigabit Ethernet and AT&T Labs transmitted eight 400Gbps wavelengths over a record-breaking 12,000 kilometers, showing how the high speed can be used over ultra-long distances, as well.

Also, last month Avago Technologies, Brocade Communications Systems, JDS Uniphase Corporation, Molex and TE Connectivity joined forces "to specify and encourage the development and commercialization" of an integrated transceiver module for 400Gbps.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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