Carriers trial new 100G cable connections

15 January 2011 |

Last month saw more carriers successfully demonstrate 100Gbps backbone connections.

Portugal Telecom has carried out demonstrations of 100Gbps backbone connections in advance of their commercial launch

Portugal Telecom trialled a link between Lisbon and Porto, marking the highest transmission speeds recorded in the country to date and making the carrier one of the European pioneers of ultra-fast backbone technology. In Asia, Thai telco True Corp conducted a field trial carrying 100Gbps Ethernet traffic over its existing IP/ MPLS network.

Portugal Telecom hopes its new connection, when launched commercially, will help meet the growing demand from its customers for video and multimedia.

“In keeping with industry trends, we’re expecting that video will account for well over half of our consumer traffic,” said Alfredo Baptista, CTO for Portugal Telecom. “This requires higher speed and higher capacity technology.”

The move is part of Portugal Telecom’s wider plans to extend coverage to an additional 600,000 Portuguese homes, building on the one million homes already serviced by its network. The network expansion will also include the deployment of 300,000km of fibre, extending the company’s fibre network to reach over 50% of homes in Portugal.

Like Portugal Telecom’s experiment, True Corp also used Alcatel-Lucent’s 100GE interfaces. The Thai carrier will use the network to support wireless services, as well as residential broadband, subscriber management, business Ethernet and virtual private networks (VPNs).

Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst of optical at Infonetics Research, said 100G technology, though still evolving, holds the best potential for meeting growing bandwidth demands at the lowest possible cost per transmission: “It really is an evaluation technology, with limited trials and deployment only possible in the highest capacity areas,” he said.

“Coherent optical technology is also a new fundamental technology that future optical networks will be based on, so this can be viewed as an enhancement of infrastructure. 100G will be the most efficient way of transporting data by 2013, when we expect it to be the lowest cost technology. Starting in 2013, it will take on a role similar to the Airbus A380, serving only the highest capacity routes, but it will eventually represent the most popular backbone choice of this decade.”

In September, European carrier Colt became the first to complete a field trial of 100Gbps Ethernet broadband technology between London and Frankfurt over a live network.