BT and HUAWEI complete 400Gbps core network trials between Dublin and Belfast

February 5th 2015

First deployment of a 400Gbps trial over a live network in Ireland or the UK. Trial proves the capability of BT’s network to meet future, next-generation demands. 400Gbps to be made available to BT Ireland commercial network customers from March 2015.

BT and Huawei today announced the successful completion of a 400 Gigabit-per-second trial over the optical fibres that form BT Ireland’s live network between Dublin and Belfast, the first trial of its kind in either the UK or Ireland. 

The trial was conducted by running 400Gbps transmission through existing live 10Gbps, 40Gbps and 100Gbps wavelengths, proving that BT’s current core network has the capability to support this future, next generation transmission technology. The trial also revealed how BT’s core fibre optic infrastructure could work even more efficiently in the future, thus reducing the need to invest in more infrastructure as customers’ bandwidth demands grow.

The trial has now paved the way for full commercial deployment of 200Gbps and 400Gbps speeds on the BT Ireland core transmission network by March 2015 from both Dublin and Belfast.

Alex Crossan, managing director, Commercial Networks, at BT Ireland, said, “The combination of BT Ireland’s leading-edge network, the expertise of our local team and the optimum geographical distance between Dublin and Belfast, made Ireland the perfect location for our innovative 400Gbps trial.  The results essentially demonstrate how we will now be able to maximise the efficiency of our network investment, building on our core network infrastructure whilst continuing to meet the ever increasing needs of our customers in a fast evolving digital world. These in-life trials have also been crucial in understanding the capabilities of these new technologies, and have allowed us to accelerate our plans to deploy with confidence in the very near future.”

Karl Penaluna, managing director Global Network Services, at BT said, “Innovation in communications technology is core to our business. This trial proves the robustness of cutting edge optical transmission technology that we have developed in our labs, by placing it in a truly testing environment in our live network. It demonstrates to our customers in a very direct way that we are able to deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions that will future proof our global network infrastructure.”
Ryan Ding, President of Products & Solutions at Huawei, said: “This is a landmark innovation, which Huawei is very excited to be part of. With the rapid growth of mobile broadband and video services generating tremendous volumes of traffic for backbone networks, the time is now for 400G. At Huawei, we’re proud to be leading this development in 400G technology and fully understand carriers’ network reconstruction requirements. We are dedicated to improving network performance, expanding bandwidth capacity, and eliminating bandwidth bottlenecks to help carriers build future-ready backbone networks.”

Key Facts:

The link between Dublin and Belfast is approximately 200km long, and shares wavelengths with an existing live commercial BT Ireland DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) network between Dublin and Dundalk carrying existing 10G, 40G and 100G customer wavelengths. The 400G signal comprises 2 x 200G (16-QAM) in adjacent 50GHz wavelength slots and can be selectively configured to any wavelength slots available on the live network.

Key technical achievements included:

  • Successful error-free transmission of 400G (2 x 200G (16-QAM)) DWDM over a 200km long link between Dublin and Belfast, together with live 10G, 40G and 100G traffic (Dublin to Dundalk), demonstrating the potential of seamless upgrade and future proofing of the existing network to 400G.
  • Successful demonstration of end-to-end Ethernet using a mix of fully loaded 10GE and 100GE traffic over the 400G signal.
  • Successful error-free transmission of 400G signal in adjacent (50GHz) wavelength slots to 10G traffic, thereby demonstrating the ability to maximise traffic capacity on the existing network link.