Four times as fast – tackling the capacity crunch with fibre optic tech

As communications service providers face the increasing challenge of a network capacity crunch due to the demands of smartphone ownership and growing video traffic, boosting a network’s speed and capacity is becoming a priority for operators globally.

Alcatel-Lucent’s latest solution is a new chip for fibre optic networks that can double the speed and quadruple the capacity of today’s networks. The chip, known as the Photonic Service Engine (PSE), is build using innovations from Bell Labs and supports 400 gigabit per second (400G) data transmission speeds on optical networks.

The unabated growth of broadband, mobile data and cloud-based services has presented a major challenge for service providers that need to find ways to keep costs in check while dramatically expanding the capacity of their networks. The Photonic Service Engine will bring substantial improvements to 100G coherent optical networks, which are being deployed by operators today. The PSE also lays the foundation for the smooth migration to 400G networks in future.

“Speed is a factor for all service providers today: the speed of the network and the speed with which new services can be brought to market,” said Mr. Keiichi Makizono, Corporate Officer, Deputy Unit Head, Technology Unit & Division Head, Network Division, SOFTBANK TELECOM in Japan. “With millions of people looking to us to access the full range of online content, we see Alcatel-Lucent’s 400G innovation as the gateway to a long, successful future.”

“Alcatel-Lucent's next generation coherent optical engine exemplifies the coupling of Bell Labs advanced research and the company's 100G commercial market experiences,” said Sterling Perrin, Heavy Reading Senior Analyst. “The PSE may well be the first commercial 400G chip, but, just as significantly, it will improve the economics and performance of 100G systems - broadening and accelerating 100G market adoption.”

The versatile 400G PSE chip can be deployed in a broad range of network configurations - including metro, regional and ultra-long haul - and transmit wavelengths over existing or new photonic lines. It is designed for use in a family of line cards in the Alcatel-Lucent 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), used today in over 120 networks around the world.

The chip enables more than 23 Terabits of traffic to be transmitted along a single optical fibre, and further enhances performance by more than 50% while reducing power consumed per gigabit by a third. The PSE is highly configurable, giving operators flexibility to adjust the appropriate optical parameters to adjust to varying conditions in the field.

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