Broadband On Steroids
January 24, 2014

Fastest Ever Broadband Speed Achieved In New Test

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

Alcatel-Lucent and British Telecom have jointly participated in a project that has achieved the fastest broadband speed ever achieved in commercial grade hardware in a real-world environment test. The experiment achieved speeds of up to 1.4 Terabits per second (Tb/s), with a record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz) on an existing core fiber connection.

The two companies jointly conducted a field trial over an existing fiber link between the BT Tower in London and BT's Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk. The test used a new 'flexible grid' infrastructure that the company calls Flexgrid, which is able to vary gaps between transmission and is able to compensate for areas where speed is typically lost.

The test is impressive, but might not make it to consumer networks for several years, BBC News reports. "But the breakthrough is being seen as highly important for internet services providers (ISPs), as it means a greater amount of information can be sent through existing broadband infrastructure, reducing the need for costly upgrades," wrote Dave Lee from BBC News.

"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 maximizing the efficiency of our existing infrastructure. Working with Alcatel-Lucent on this trial has been highly productive in demonstrating the viability of an alien wavelength approach," said Neil J. McRae, chief network architect at BT, in a corporate statement.

Telecom operators are able to introduce new features and technology without updating existing optical transport infrastructure through the use of alien wavelengths. The benefit of the new technology is that it can work on existing fiber, without having to upgrade the wiring on networks.

The alien wavelength was achieved during work on the project during October and November of 2013. BT and Alcatel-Lucent were able to demonstrate a number of high-speed alien wavelength technical achievements. The top speed test recorded a spectral efficiency of 5.7b/s/Hz. Alcatel-Lucent says the speed is equivalent to fitting a 1Tb super channel in less than 200GHz spectrum.

"BT has a long history of leading innovation in telecommunications, from the earliest days of the electric telegraph to today's global fiber networks. These trials continue that tradition, as we work with Alcatel-Lucent to push the boundaries of fiber 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," said Dr. Tim Whitley, managing director of Research and Innovation at BT, in a corporate statement.

BT and Alcatel-Lucent jointly work on projects to advance broadband services. The joint venture allows the companies to efficiently and cost-effectively increase high-speed network capacity for consumers.

"As part of our long-standing relationship, BT and Alcatel-Lucent continue to work together to use innovation from Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent and BT Research and Development to move the industry forward and meet the ever evolving needs of the marketplace. These trials represent another step forwards by BT and Alcatel-Lucent in this continual evolution," said Cormac Whelan, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent UK and Ireland.

News of faster internet speeds is welcomed by many. The test comes at a time when net neutrality in the US just ruled against demand. It was recently ruled that ISPs can charge Netflix higher rates, based on volume. Though the video streaming service plans to fight back.