Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, Nokia Bell Labs reach 65 Tbps speeds in submarine cable trial

dark fiber

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) and Nokia Bell Labs said during a recent lab trial they achieved transmission speeds of 65 Terabits (Tbps) over a 6,600 km single mode fiber using submarine grade, dual band erbium doped fiber amplifiers.

During the trial, the company used Bell Labs' Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) technology, a new modulation technique that it says maximizes the distance and capacity of high-speed transmission in optical networks.

What’s different about PCS is that it 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.

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This new approach could help submarine cable providers extend the capability of transoceanic cable systems to meet increasing data traffic demand. Traffic demands are being driven by the insatiable consumer demand for new online video and music streaming applications.

The capacity of 65 Tbps – which is 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.

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

New transmission methods like PCS come during a time when a host of new providers have begun building out new cabling systems.

Some of these new cabling systems include Hawaiki Submarine Cable and the SEA-US cable that provide new connectivity options between the United States and various Asian countries.

The 15,000 km SEA-US submarine cable will link Manado (Indonesia) to Los Angeles via Oahu (Hawaii) and Piti (Guam), with a fiber cable branch to Davao. 

Meanwhile, Hawaiki will run its proposed 14,000 km trans-Pacific cable between Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.

Interestingly, the demand for content has been also attracting the likes of Facebook and Microsoft which plans to build a 160 Tbps, 4,100 km submarine cable.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Alaska Communications, Hawaiki Cable strike landing, operation agreement in Oregon
CenturyLink activates two 100G New York-to-London links on Aqua Comms submarine cable


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