New trials by BT and Huawei have achieved the fastest ever speeds of 2 Terabits per second (Tbps) over a live core network link which spans more than 700km between Dublin and London, BT said today.

In 2014 BT used optical superchannel technology to deliver record breaking speeds over a closed trial network. The company applied the same technology to the fiber link carrying live customer traffic between Dublin and London.

The technology and techniques pioneered in the company’s labs – using Terabit superchannels and flexible grid infrastructures – will allow BT to avoid a ‘capacity crunch’, by squeezing far more bandwidth out of its existing core optical networks which are the “motorways” of the internet. This can be achieved by increasing the spectral efficiency of a single strand of glass.

Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations, said: “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.

“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.

“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.

Separately, BT also announced today that it has successfully transmitted speeds of 5.6Tbps over a single optical fibre running on its trial network between the BT Labs in Adastral Park and the BT Tower in London, beating the previous record of 3Tbps set in 2014. This speed is the equivalent of downloading almost 200 HD quality films in one second.

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