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British Telecom maintains fastest real-world fiber optic connection at 1.4Tb/s

French telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent and the BT Group in London achieved a record-setting data connection at a staggering 1.4Tb/s during a trial over a 410 km fiber optic link.


In the near future, residents of London may have a much easier time streaming Netflix.

BT, which maintains broadband services in the country, worked with French telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent to significantly increase the efficiency on a core fiber optic network, boosting it to speeds nearly twice as fast as average fiber network speeds. While a two-fold increase may not sound impressive on paper, when it comes to commercial grade networks, that’s a lot of data.

A lot.

In fact, clocking in at no less than 1.4 terabits per second, this nifty network connection can transmit the equivalent of 44 uncompressed HD movies in one second.

With a connection like this, it would be possible to download the entire 10 petabyte – 10,240 terabytes or 10,485,760 gigabytes – Internet Archive in less than a single day.

The speed increase was achieved on an existing fiber link between the BT tower in London, and BT’s Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk – a distance of 410 kilometers. Without updating the fiber optic cables themselves, a newly installed ‘flexible grid’ infrastructure (Flexgrid) was used to increase the channel density on the fibers, and achieving a world record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz).

The trial was successful, and operations remained stable and error free. The success of BT and Alcatel’s experiment indicate the exciting possibility of significantly improving fiber Internet speeds in a country, without actually replacing the existing fiber infrastructure.

For consumers, the implications of these speed increases are exciting, especially in lieu of recent bad blood between ISPs and video streaming services such as Netflix, which use up a lot of Internet bandwidth. The insane speeds achieved in this recent trial would grant Internet subscribers more wiggle room, and make the network more comfortable for everyone involved.

BT MD of Research and Innovation Tim Whitley stated that the technology would allow the company to “support the ever increasing bandwidth required by our customers, and deliver new and exciting services which rely on fast, data-hungry applications.”

Source: Alcatel-Lucent

Brandon Shutt
Brandon is an A+ certified technician and freelance writer living in East Tennessee. He loves God, writing, science (especially technology) and philosophy. He is currently preparing to enter the field of information security.

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