It’s a little over one year since Ciena unveiled its 400G coherent optical technology. Now it appears that 800G superchannels – tightly linked groups of wavelengths that can be managed as a single wavelength – are nearly ready for prime time.
Working with BT, Ciena has carried out a series of pioneering trials over the UK operator’s core optical network. The successful trials carried out in March 2013 included the transmission of 100G, 200G, and 400G, as well as an 800G superchannel, using Ciena’s WaveLogic 3 coherent technology embedded in the 6500 Packet-Optical platform.
Although higher transmission speeds have been achieved in the laboratory, this milestone was achieved over a deployed 410 km network link between BT’s Adastral Park Research and Development Centre in Ipswich and BT Tower in Central London. BT intentionally chose this route for its high polarization mode dispersion (PMD) fibre – a link that had been previously declared unsuitable for traditional non-coherent transmission at 10Gbps speeds. This is “quite a testament to the power of Ciena’s WaveLogic 3 technology”, the company claims.
The 200G, 400G and 800G speeds were accomplished using a 16QAM modulation format introduced in WaveLogic 3. For one trial, 400G of traffic was carried and monitored over the network using 16QAM modulation, and operated flawlessly alongside adjacent 40G and 100G QPSK-based wavelengths, demonstrating the smooth migration path offered by Ciena’s coherent technology.
The ability to increase network capacity requirements with minimal upheaval was one of the key reasons that BT said it picked Ciena’s technology in the first place (Ciena has been a strategic supplier to BT since 2003). The trials demonstrate the future-proof nature of BT’s core network, which is based on Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical and 4200 Advanced Services platforms. With Wavelogic 3, BT can gradually increase network capacity according to the requirements of its wholesale and business customers while lowering costs and minimising its carbon footprint.
“BT has always been a pioneer in the field of networking, and we can trace our roots back to the very first national telecommunications undertaking in the world – The Electric Telegraph Company. Since then, and with the recent explosion in global connectivity, we have constantly looked for new ways to future proof our infrastructure and provide more bandwidth for the next generation of applications and services. These trials prove that we’re heading in the right direction, and we’re very proud of our role in this latest milestone in the history of communications,” said Neil J. McRae, chief network architect at BT.
In separate news, BT has hooked up with Intel Europe to open a new research laboratory at Adastral Park near Ipswich. The Co-Lab project will see BT researchers working alongside their Intel counterparts to study and develop future telecommunications platforms, as well as new services which could underpin the connected communities of tomorrow.
By Pauline Rigby
Press release: BT and Ciena Light World’s First 800G Super-Channel
Press release: Intel and BT Launch Collaborative Research Laboratory