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New distance record for 400 Gb/s data transmission

As network carriers debate the next Ethernet standard—and whether transmission speeds of 400 gigabit per second or 1 terabit per second should be the norm—engineers are working on new measures to squeeze next-generation performance out of current-generation systems.

To that end, a team from AT&T has devised a new patent pending technique enabling tuning of the modulation spectral efficiency, which allows, for the first time, 400 Gb/s signals to be sent over today's 100 gigahertz-grid optical networks over ultra-long distances. Spectral efficiency is the information rate that can be transmitted over a given bandwidth, and measures how efficiently the available frequency spectrum is utilized.

The researchers, led by optical transmission system expert Xiang Zhou of AT&T Labs-Research in Middletown, N.J., will describe their work at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) in Anaheim, Calif. March 17-21.

In the system, Nyquist-shaped 400Gb/s signals with tunable spectral efficiency were generated using modulated subcarriers. Eight 100 GHz-spaced, 400 Gb/s wavelength-division-multiplexed signals were combined and then transmitted over a re-circulating transmission test platform consisting of 100-km fiber spans.

Using the new modulation technique and a new low-loss, large-effective area fiber from OFS Labs, the team transmitted the signals over a record-breaking 12,000 kilometers (roughly 7,500 miles)—surpassing their own previous distance record (using the 50 gigahertz-grid) by more than 9000 km.

•Date: 14th March 2013 • World •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity

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