Nokia and Deutsche Telekom have achieved 1 Terabit in the field, thanks to smart transmissions.
Researchers have been revealing terabit data speeds in fiber optics for years, but they’ve hardly been practical. That unusual technology may work over long intervals, but it can immediately fall apart when you throw typical network amounts in the mix. However, it’s about to display much more practical. Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom and the Technical University of Munich have recorded 1Tbps data speeds in a field experiment that involved “real situations,” with varying conditions, circumstances and traffic levels.
The secret is a new modulation method, Probabilistic Constellation Shaping. Instead of using all the networking’s constellation points (the “alphabet of the transmission”) equally, like typical fiber, it prefers those points with lower amplitudes, i.e. the ones that are less susceptible to noise. This method helps communications reach up to 30 percent further since you can adjust the transmission rate to fit the channel. It’s so powerful that the team got close to the general peak data speeds attainable for the fiber connection.
You’re likely not going to see these terabit fiber lines in general use for a while since there’s a large gap among a field test and making commercially available lines. The timing might be perfect, 5G cellular data is just getting the impulse, and telecoms will need gobs of bandwidth to cope with the increased demands.
Currently, the quickest commercial single-laser-single-fiber network connections max out at just 100Gbps (100 Gigabit Ethernet). The IEEE is currently examining the probability of 1Tbps Ethernet standard, with ratification not due until 2017 or later.
A practical 1Tbps fiber option would make sure that the internet’s wired backbones don’t fall under the pressure.