Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks and Nokia Bell Labs Achieve 65 Terabit-per-second Transmission Record for Transoceanic Cable Systems

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Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) and Nokia Bell Labs announced they have achieved a record transmission capacity over a 6,600 km single mode fiber. The breakthrough lab trial demonstrated a total 65 terabit-per-second (Tb/s) transmission using submarine grade dual band erbium doped fiber amplifiers, which will help extend the capability of transoceanic cable systems to meet increasing data traffic demand.

The trial leveraged Bell Labs’ new Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) technology, a groundbreaking new modulation technique that maximizes the distance and capacity of high-speed transmission in optical networks. Unlike traditional techniques whereby all constellation symbols are transmitted with the same occurrence, PCS intelligently uses non-uniform transmission of constellation symbols by reducing the occurrence of high power symbols, thus providing more resilience to noise and other impairments, and the ability to dynamically adapt to changing conditions.

Using this novel approach, the capacity of undersea cable systems can be further maximized to help telecom and webscale operators address increasing consumer and business data traffic demands. The capacity of 65 Tb/s – equivalent to more than 10 million HDTV channels streamed simultaneously – is 13,000 times the capacity that was available on the first undersea amplified transatlantic system installed in 1995.

Olivier Gautheron, chief technology officer of ASN, said: “This new record is the latest in a long series of achievements by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks over the past 20 years, with breakthroughs that have transformed long distance data transmission. It also underlines our strategic focus on R&D to raise the bar for undersea fiber-optic technology as our researchers continue to develop new solutions to help traditional and webscale operators cope with increasing requirements for speed, capacity and cost-effectiveness.”

Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs & Nokia CTO, said: “The future digital existence where everyone, everything and every system and process is connected will require a massive increase in network capacity and the ability to dynamically optimize this capacity. Probabilistic Constellation Shaping extends the limits of current optical transmission by utilizing novel modulation techniques to dramatically improve the performance and capacity needed for the new digital era that will be enabled by the Future X Network.”

In September, Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom and the Technical University on Munich leveraged PCS technology to achieve speeds of 1 Tb per second per channel over Deutsche Telekom’s terrestrial optical network. It presented the results of this trial at the Europe Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) 2016 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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