Virgin Media pumps 400Gbps on a single fibre in residential network
UK cable company Virgin Media is trying out technology that could deliver 400Gbps on a single fibre to a range of customers.
The new equipment, which uses the existing network, is able to send and receive data at much higher speeds than was previously possible, says the company, which is owned by Liberty Global.
Jeanie York (pictured), chief technology and information officer at Virgin Media, said: “Innovations like this ensure our customers continue to benefit from the UK’s fastest widely available speeds, pave the way for future network upgrades and help support the rollout of multi-gigabit broadband and mobile services.”
In the trial, the traditional network transceivers were replaced with technology which split a single fibre into many connections, all taking a share of the huge capacity. This means a single fibre could be used to provide multi-gigabit speeds to many fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) customers at the same time.
The technology is Infinera’s XR Optics, and Virgin Media has been testing it in its network in Reading, west of London. Two years ago,it tried 10Gbps symmetric full fibre home broadband technology in Papworth, Cambridgeshire.
This new trial goes a step beyond that, said Virgin, demonstrating that the operator’s passive fibre optic access network (PON) — which provides multiple premises with full fibre connections — could deliver 400Gbps symmetrical services by making use of the latest technology.
York said: “Our next-generation network already offers gigabit connectivity to more than seven million homes, but with data use and demand for hyperfast speeds surging, we’re continually investing in our network to prepare for whatever the future brings.”
The company noted that this new technology could help support the rapidly growing demand for data which is being driven by high-quality video streaming, remote working and immersive entertainment, as well as the need to carry 5G traffic to and from mobile phone masts as well as other emerging bandwidth intensive technologies.
By using standard passive optical network technology, the transceivers can support higher speed data transfers and can be remotely upgraded and configured. This allows the network operator to make changes quickly and easily, paving the way for simple upgrades to consumer services in future.