Nokia successful field trial of single-carrier, 50.8 terabit-per-second on Etisalat’s WDM fiber optic network

Nokia and Etisalat (UAE) report the completion of a multi-terabit-per-second, single-carrier data transmission over an operator-deployed fiber network in a field trial.  Nokia said in a press release that a terabit-per-second is enough bandwidth to download the entire “Game of Thrones” video series in HD in under two seconds.

Using Etisalat’s wavelength division multiplexing network, the companies were able to reach a transmission speed of 50.8 terabits per second over 93 kilometers of optical fiber.

Nokia said the trial successfully transmitted a record 50.8 terabits per second using multiple wavelengths, each with a net information rate of 1.3 terabits per second, over a 93-kilometer fiber route of Etisalat’s wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) network.

The Nokia field trial showed that Etisalat’s existing network could support the higher optical wavelength bit rates that will be required to support high-bandwidth services such as 5G extreme mobile broadband, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and data center interconnect (DCI) cloud services.

Here are the key points:

  • Trial is the world’s first terabit-per-second, single-carrier data transmission over an operator deployed fiber network.
  • New transmission capacity record comes as Etisalat invests in core network infrastructure in anticipation of a new generation of high-bandwidth services.
  • Results move Nokia Bell Labs’ experimental lab records of terabit-per-second single-carrier transmission to a deployed operator network.

In addition to the speeds, higher bit rates per wavelength enable power and space savings, improved network simplicity, as well as increased spectral efficiency and capacity. It also enables reduced cost per bit compared to optical networks composed of lower rate channels, according to Nokia.

Using a single optical carrier operating at 100 Gigabaud, the terabit wavelengths tapped into Nokia Bell Labs’ probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) to intelligently shape the signal to achieve maximum capacity for the specific fiber route. Nokia said its Photonic Service Engine 3 was the first coherent digital signal processor to implement PCS.

Esmaeel Alhammadi, Senior Vice President, Network Development at Etisalat, said:

“We are pleased to have partnered with Nokia Bell Labs to demonstrate that our optical network is capable of transporting a terabit per second over a single wavelength, and a total per-fibre capacity of over 50 terabits-per-second.  Increasing network capacity helps us to provide bandwidth-hungry services such as 5G extreme mobile broadband, fibre-to-the-home and DCI for enterprises.”

Sam Bucci, Head of Optical Networking at Nokia, said:

“The introduction of 5G will require a network that can support dramatic increases in bandwidth in a dynamic fashion. This ground-breaking trial with Etisalat is testimony to Nokia’s commitment to continue to invest in coherent and optical component technologies required to meet the 5G networking challenge at the lowest total cost of ownership for our customers.”

Nokia has a long history of advancing the frontiers of optical transmission. It was the first to demonstrate single-carrier 100G transmission in a deployed production network in 2007, and the first to commercialize single-carrier 100G and 200G wavelengths in 2010 and 2013, respectively. More recently, the Nokia Bell Labs optical research team published the world’s first terabit-per-second transmission lab trials in 2015 and 2017.  By extending these records to a deployed operator network, Nokia Bell Labs is bringing the age of terabit wavelength networks a big step closer to reality.

Details of the Nokia trial with Etisalat were published in a post-deadline co-authored paper at the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC), held last week in Dublin, Ireland:

1.3-tb/s Single-Channel and 50.8-tb/s WDM Transmission Over Field-Deployed Fiber

Authors: Fred Buchali 1, Karsten Schuh 1, Roman Dischler 1, Mathieu Chagnon 1, Vahid Aref 1, Henning Buelow 1, Qian Hu 1, Florian Pulka 1, Massimo Frascolla 2, Esmaeel Alhammadi 3, Adel Samhan 3, Islam Younis 4, Mohamed El-Zonkoli 4, Peter Winzer 1

Affiliations: Nokia Bell Labs 1, Nokia 2, Etisalat UAR 3, Nokia UAR 4

Additional Resources from Nokia: