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BT core network trials break world speed records

Press Release   •   May 25, 2016 15:00 BST

BT and Huawei deliver 2Tbps speeds over a live core fibre link between London and Dublin

Speeds of 5.6Tbps demonstrated over trial network between BT Labs and BT Tower

New trials by BT and Huawei have achieved the fastest ever speeds of 2 Terabits per second (Tbps) over a live core network link which spans more than 700km between London and Dublin, in another world-first for BT’s team of researchers at Adastral Park, Ipswich.

In 2014 BT used optical superchannel technology to deliver record breaking speeds over a closed trial network. Now, the company has successfully applied the same technology to the commercial fibre link carrying live customer traffic between London and Dublin.

Separately, BT also announced today that it has successfully transmitted speeds of 5.6Tbps over a single optical fibre running on its trial network between the BT Labs in Adastral Park and the BT Tower in London, beating the previous record of 3Tbps set in 2014. This speed is the equivalent of downloading almost 200 HD quality films in one second.

The technology and techniques pioneered in the company’s labs - using Terabit superchannels and flexible grid infrastructures – will allow BT to avoid a ‘capacity crunch’, by squeezing far more bandwidth out of its existing core optical networks which are the “motorways” of the internet. This can be achieved by increasing the spectral efficiency of a single strand of glass.

Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations, said: “BT scientists built the first commercial single mode optical fibre link back in 1984 and the BT Labs remain at the forefront of photonics research more than thirty years later.

“The core network is the superhighway of the internet. It’s important that our core networks keep pace with the growth in bandwidth demands driven by take-up of high-speed fibre broadband, HD content, 4G smartphones and tablets and in the future, 5G services.

“So we’re investing in our core, as well as in high-speed access technology such as fibre broadband, to make sure there is no capacity crunch and deliver the best possible speeds to customers.

“These landmark trials show that we can easily turn up the dial to deliver the speeds needed in our core networks to stay well ahead of rising customer demand.”

Zha Jun, President of Huawei Fixed Network Product Line: "We are proud to be working with BT to make this world leading trial a success. We have been working together for over ten years and this project marks a big step forward in our efforts to build future-ready core networks for our customers. Ultra-High-Speed optical networks are an indispensable infrastructure for the future of digital life, and this is an area where Huawei is investing, to help telcos such as BT squeeze as much capacity out of their core networks as possible.”

Key technical facts about the trials:

  • The 2Tbps trials exploit commercial flexible grid hardware and real-time flexible rate 64GBaud transponders. 64GBaud optical technology runs at twice the electrical speed of current deployed core optical network optical signals and is one of the key enablers for high-speed, long reach optical transmission.
  • The live trials were conducted over a 727km commercial flexible grid optical core link between London and Dublin, based on Huawei’s OSN 9800/8800 and iManager U2000 platforms, carrying live 40/100G customer traffic. The link includes a 133km long unrepeatered submarine cable link from Dublin to Holyhead.
  • The trials demonstrate, for the first time, the successful operation of real-time 64GBaud flexible-rate transponders allowing all-optical, long reach (unregenerated) superchannel transmission, with low latency.
  • In addition, by exploiting flexible rate transponders, BT successfully demonstrated fast capacity turn up (or network upgrade) equivalent to ~2Tbps in one minute.
  • BT and Huawei also successfully demonstrated a record real-time 5.6Tbps optical superchannel over a closed loop network running between the BT Tower and Adastral Park. This comprised 28 x 200Gb/s (64GBaud/QPSK) sub-channels, bundled together to provide combined capacity, achieving highest capacity and spectral efficiency.

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Through the dedication to customer-centric innovation and strong partnerships, Huawei has established end-to-end advantages in telecom networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei is committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers by providing competitive solutions and services. Its products and solutions have been deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one third of the world's population.

For more information, visit Huawei online: www.huawei.com

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com