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Bell Labs cites breakthrough in optical communication research

Veronica C. Silva | Feb. 14, 2013
Research group said it has published new study for faster transmission of data

Bell Labs, the research group of Alcatel-Lucent, recently announced that it has published research that can lead to faster transmission of data using optical communication technology.

Bell Labs said its research can lead to the transmission of petabits of data, or roughly the equivalent of 10,000 hour-long, high-definition videos over the network in one second. This research is relevant, said Bell, because 100 gigabit per second transfer has already become an industry networking standard, and it's just a matter of time when networks reach the "petabit era."

Compared to the current wavelength-division multiplexed WDM systems, Bell Labs said its research has noted the possibility of increasing fibre capacities using fibre-optic communications. Bell has noted that optical communication networks are already used in the industry, delivering unlimited video services, high speed Internet and other networking services to consumers and businesses.

The company's latest experiment on optic communication demonstrated the capability to increase speed by as much as tenfold over 100 Gbps solutions, achieving terabit per second with merely two optical subcarriers over long-haul distances.

Customer demand

This recent breakthrough stems from Alcatel-Lucent's previous success in 100 Gbps transmission and long-range transmission of 400 gigabits per second (400 Gbps). But Bell Labs said it has even improved on Alcatel-Lucent's achievements by reducing the number of subcarriers that will be required to transmit terabits of data on an optical channel.

This achievement is particularly important to operators who can now meet demand for higher data rates while bringing down the cost of infrastructure by reducing the number of subcarriers that can do the job.

Peter Winzer, director, Optical Transmission Systems and Networks Research, Bell Labs, said its research is responding to the industry's challenges to keep up with demand now and into the future.  

"Our contributions are helping optical networks cope with the never ending increase in communications traffic and as such enable the economically sustainable growth of modern applications and services. While some of this technology is years away from implementation, creating and developing it now paves the way for a bright, information-rich, and globally connected future," said Winzer. 


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