Three successful distance trials for Acacia

Created March 8, 2023
Technologies and Products

The need for greater data throughput over ever-longer distances is becoming a major driver behind developments in optical technology, leading many manufacturers to conduct trials over live networks in recent months. The latest company to push the boundaries of speed and distance is Acacia, now part of Cisco. At OFC, the company announced it had successfully achieved 800G over 2,220km, 400G over 5,616km,and 1T over 540km. The trials were completed by Adtran with NYSERNet, China Mobile with ZTE, and Windstream Wholesale, all leveraging Acacia’s Coherent Interconnect Module 8 (CIM 8) (pictured).

Adtran completed a field trial of 800G single-carrier transport, achieving error-free transmission over a record distance of 2,220km in NYSERNet’s production network. The test route passed through 14 route-and-select flexgrid ROADMs comprising a total of 28 wavelength-selective switches. Leveraging Acacia’s 140GBd DSP technology, this result was made possible by Adtran’s use of continuous symbol rate tuning and probabilistic constellation shaping offered by the CIM 8 module..

According to Sorin Tibuleac, director of system architecture at Optical Networks at Adtran, “We’ve taken single-carrier 800Gbit/s data transmission further than ever before. And we’ve achieved it not in a lab but in a real-world network also carrying live traffic. What’s more, we succeeded without any optimisation to the line system, maintaining the same amplifier settings used before the field trial. We’ve demonstrated that the highest capacity and reach can now be accomplished even over deployed fibre comprising a mix of standard G.652 and G.655 and including multiple network nodes and flexgrid ROADMs. Building on the success of our TeraFlexTM CoreChannelTM technology, these results represent the next milestone in the development of high-speed optical networks. The potential to enhance throughput while minimising opex and operational complexity is immense.”

China Mobile announced the world’s longest distance 400G optical transmission with help from ZTE. Using 400G QPSK non-electric relay network transmission the distance set a record.  The network spans Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Guizhou provinces, involving 45 optical discharge segments, achieving 5,616 kilometres of ultra-long-distance real-time network transmission. The trial was completed to accelerate the development of 400G high-speed optical transmission in the industry. China Mobile believes the construction of a 400G all-optical network will provide strong support for faster transmission, greater capacity, and lower latency of computing network services.

Finally, Windstream Wholesale announced the completion of a live network trial that successfully deployed a 1T wave over 541 kilometres across Windstream’s Intelligent Converged Optical Network (ICON) network between Dallas and Tulsa, in the US. The trial employed Acacia’s CIM 8, which is powered by the Jannu DSP and is the industry’s first pluggable module in the “High-Performance” category that represents the next evolution in driving high-capacity optical connections to expand the network. The team also looped the circuit to establish an 800G link over a live network measuring 1,082 kilometres.

The 1T trial marked the first use of pluggable modules in the High-Performance category. Acacia’s modules reduce power consumption by more than 65% while being more than 70% smaller than traditional network gear. In addition, the performance gains allow for a significant jump in route coverage of high line rates such as 800G and above.

According to Art Nichols, chief technology officer for Windstream, “With this trial, Windstream Wholesale and Acacia have broken through the Terabit limit, once again demonstrating the power and benefit of an open, disaggregated network. Our success here further validates Windstream Wholesale’s early adoption of the latest evolution advancements of coherent pluggables, and our strong partnership with Acacia enables us to understand and meet the rapidly evolving bandwidth needs of our customers.”

(Image: Acacia)

For more information, visit


This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.