Nokia pushes optical speed close to the max

07 Mar 2018

Nokia has announced a new chipset that the company says pushes optical network capacity close to its theoretical limits.

The chipset is the first to incorporate the probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) technique pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs, which has the potential to push fiber performance close to the Shannon Limit.

The Shannon Limit is the theoretical maximum transmission capacity of a communications channel before the signal gets overwhelmed by noise. The theory was developed by Bell Labs researcher Claude Shannon in 1948.

Nokia's new Photonic Service Engine 3 chipset allows maximum capacity over any distance and on any fiber, the company said, increasing capacity by up to 65% over currently deployed networks at a 60% lower power consumption.

Networks built with the new chipset require up to 35% fewer optical transponders, and the technology has the capability of extending the life of existing systems and subsea cables by recovering latent capacity.

In contrast with complex wave division multiplexing (WDM) systems, the chipset provides adjustable wavelength capacity from 100G to 600G with a single modulation format, baud rate and channel size.

New Zealand operator Spark has already announced plans to use the new technology to plan towards the upgrade of its 200G transport system to 400G and eventually 1TB services.

"This is a breakthrough in how we can maximize the performance of optical networks and, at the same time, vastly simplify operations. The Photonic Service Engine 3 is the culmination of a decade of research and first-hand experience building the largest, highest capacity optical networks in the world,” Nokia head of optical networks Sam Bucci said.

“By introducing this extreme and yet remarkably simple programmability, our customers can now maximize the capacity of every link in their network, whether that's 10 km, 10,000 km or beyond. They will be able to keep their costs under control while handling the huge bandwidth demands that video, cloud, and soon 5G will be throwing at them.”

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