Nokia Siemens Networks & partners set data rate record for optical fiber

Capacity double that required for world’s population to be on simultaneous phone calls

October 17, 2012

Capacity double that required for world’s population to be on simultaneous phone calls

Nokia Siemens Networks, and a consortium of R&D partners, have successfully demonstrated a capacity record using light to transmit information down commercially deployed multi-mode optical fiber. The demonstration* achieved a 6-fold increase in optical data speed to 57.6 terabit per second (Tbps), compared to 9.6 Tbps speed available with today’s commercial systems. The technique employed spatial multiplexing over solid-core multi-mode fiber. This capacity breakthrough has been recognized at the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC).

“With this record data rate we can transmit, over a single fiber, double the capacity required for 7 billion people – the world’s population – to be connected over simultaneous phone calls,” said Robert Richter, head of R&D optical networks at Nokia Siemens Networks. “But this is only the beginning. By 2020, we will be able to support 100 times this capacity, which means that a single fiber would have enough capacity to deliver 40 million different TV streams – for example one for every household in Germany – simultaneously.”

In addition, the spatial multiplexing technology is expected to have a huge impact on the world economy for example when combined with hollow-core photonic band gap fibers. High-frequency trading firms, for example, which rely on fast data connections and today account for 73% of the entire US equity trading volume, are expected to benefit from the low latency of optical transmission.**

The technical advance has been achieved by the ModeGap consortium, whose members include Nokia Siemens Networks, the University of Southampton and the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, among others***. The project was partially funded by the European Union under its seventh framework program. Under the scope of the project, components, fiber and digital signal processing concepts are being developed by the consortium for spatial multiplexing over photonic band gap fibers in the 1.55 and 2 micrometer region.

“Nokia Siemens Networks is our preferred partner in the industry, as the company provides a crucial vision of system requirements and technology roadmaps,” said Prof. David J. Richardson from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at Southampton University, which is renowned for its groundbreaking research in optical communication. “It was the system know-how of the Nokia Siemens Networks research team that made the record possible. Our university is very much looking forward to continuing this fruitful cooperation.”

The technical details of the demonstration were presented during the prestigious European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) in Amsterdam, as a contribution to the event’s post-deadline session.