Nokia sets new record for submarine fibre speeds

Firm achieves 65 terabits per second data transmission

Nokia Bell Labs has achieved a record 65 terabits per second data transmission for Nokia's transatlantic cable systems, it revealed yesterday.

This amount of transmitted data was achieved using dual-band fibre amplifiers, and is enough to support 10 million high-definition TV channels streaming simultaneously, almost 13,000 times the capacity that was available when cables were first placed in 1995.

Nokia used a "groundbreaking new modulation technique" that maximises the distance and capacity of an optical network, but only achieved the transmission speed in a lab trial.

Dubbed "Probabilistic Constellation Shaping" (PCS), this new technology is more resilient to external noise and is able to "adapt to changing conditions", according to Nokia.

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It hopes to deploy the new transmission speeds commercially in the next two to three years, the company told IT Pro.

Demand for high speed internet is constantly increasing, particularly when supplying data-hungry giants such as Facebook and Google. Research firm Telegeography expects a surge of cable deployments worth over $8.1 billion over the next three years, according to Reuters. The firm also predicts around 33 new networks will be built over the same period.

Nokia's Alcatel Submarine Network Unit (ASN)'s CTO, Olivier Gautheron, told IT Pro: "This experiment addresses the need for increasing capacity in support of the worldwide Internet and of the cloud, further pushing the boundaries of efficiency and faster access to broadband services."

In a public statement, he added: "This new record is the latest in a long series of achievements by ASN over the past 20 years. It underlines our strategic focus on R&D to raise the bar for undersea fibre-optic technology as our researchers continue to develop new solutions to help operators cope with increasing requirements for speed, capacity and cost-effectiveness."

This news follows the announcement in May that Facebook and Microsoft plan to place undersea cables connecting the US and Europe, with potential speeds of up to 160 terabits per second.

A 5,600-mile submarine cable was also placed by Google connecting the US and Japan, which went live in June.

ASN is currently the largest provider of submarine cable networks, with more than 580,000 kilometres of undersea cables placed worldwide.

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