BT's live core network speed tests smash 5.6Tbps mark

The link between London and Dublin showcased how a live core fibre link will offfer customers of speeds up to 2Tbps in future

BT has demonstrated the fastest ever broadband speeds possible, with trials achieving speeds of 5.6Tbps using a live core network between BT's Labs in Adastral Park, Ipswich and the BT Tower in London.

Alongside Huawei, the company won't be offering commercial broadband with such speeds, but hoped to offer 2Tbps broadband in the future using its live core network link. It demonstrated this separately in trials between London and Dublin.

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"The core network is the superhighway of the internet. It's important that our core networks keep pace with the growth in bandwidth demands driven by take-up of high-speed fibre broadband, HD content, 4G smartphones and tablets and in the future, 5G services," Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations, said.

"So we're investing in our core, as well as in high-speed access technology such as fibre broadband, to make sure there is no capacity crunch and deliver the best possible speeds to customers."

The network uses Terabit superchannels and flexible grid infrastructure, meaning it doesn't have to rely on its existing infrastructure that would potentially cause networks to grind to a halt when bandwidth reaches its limits.

"Ultra-High-Speed optical networks are an indispensable infrastructure for the future of digital life, and this is an area where Huawei is investing, to help telcos such as BT squeeze as much capacity out of their core networks as possible," Zha Jun, President of Huawei Fixed Network Product Line.

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BT has previously used optical superchannels to bolster the capacity over its networks. In 2014, the company trialled the technology in a closed environment where it obtained speeds of 3Tbps.

"These landmark trials show that we can easily turn up the dial to deliver the speeds needed in our core networks to stay well ahead of rising customer demand.

"BT scientists built the first commercial single mode optical fibre link back in 1984 and the BT Labs remain at the forefront of photonics research more than thirty years later," Watson said.

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