NICT describes 1 petabit/s switching in post-deadline ECOC paper

Created October 25, 2019
Applications and Research

The Network System Research Institute at Tokyo’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan, has demonstrated the first large-scale optical switching testbed capable of handling 1 petabit/s optical signals.” 1 petabit/s is equivalent to the capacity to send 8K-quality video to 10 million viewers simultaneously.

The NICT stated that this achievement depended on large-scale and low-loss optical switches based on MEMS technology, three types of next-generation spatial-division multiplexing fibres, and included the routing of signals with capacities from 10 terabit per second to 1 petabit per second.

NICT added that his achievement is equivalent to more than 100 times the capacity of currently available networks.

Institute president Dr Hideyuki Tokuda stated. “This is a major step towards the early implementation of the petabit-class backbone optical networks capable of supporting the increasing requirements of internet services such as broadband video streaming, 5G mobile networks or Internet of Things.”

ECOC paper

The results of this demonstration were acknowledged by the scientific community with a post-deadline presentation at the 45th European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) 2019.

NICT has collaborated with academia and industry to develop new types of optical fibre technologies and provide petabit-class communications for short- and long-reach backbone networks as well as datacenter networks. These have included achievements such as the record petabit-class transmission in a single fibre, and the longest link using spatial division multiplexing amplifiers (in March 2019).

However, petabit-class transmission requires petabit-class switching technologies to manage and reliably direct large amounts of data through complex networks. Up to now, such technologies have been beyond reach because the existing approaches have been limited by complexity and performance.

The NICT has implemented a network demonstration using state-of-the-art large-scale spatial optical switching, aiming at petabit-class next-generation optical networks using spatial-division multiplexing.

The experimental network testbed supported data rates from 10 terabits per second up to 1 petabits per second over three types of next-generation multicore fibres and included practical requirements of real networks, such as protection switching. The total capacity of the network was 1 petabit per second. The system was demonstrated in four scenarios that constitute the building blocks of the next-generation optical fibre networks:

  1. Optical switching of 1 petabit per second of data.
  2. Redundant configuration to support network failures or fibre breaks.
  3. Branching of 1 petabit per second signals into different types of optical fibre with various capacities.
  4. Management of lower-capacity signals (10 terabit per second) within the 1 petabit per second network.

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This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.