Orange and Nokia have set a new benchmark for optical fibre transmission in Poland, achieving 250Gbps per wavelength over a distance of 870km between Warsaw and Wroclaw.

The trial utilised a 1.5Tbps ‘super channel’ based on six carriers with a 250Gbps capacity, and ran in 300GHz spectrum over standard single mode fibre, the pair said.

Whereas optical systems typically enable maximum transmission capacity over short distances, and lower capacity across long distances, the Polish exercise improved both capacity and distance, setting record speeds for both using commercially available infrastructure.

The pair said results showed a 25 percent increase in capacity in each wavelength over 200Gbps and a 70 percent improvement in distance versus comparable field trials. They also achieved a 250 percent increase in bandwidth over standard 100Gbps networks using same amount of spectrum.

Christian Gacon, Vice President of Orange's transport networks, said: “This ground-breaking milestone will be the basis for faster networks and a better user experience for our customers.

“Bandwidth demands are continuing to skyrocket, but we also need to keep our infrastructure costs in check. Reaching these new heights in optical transmission proves we can meet bandwidth demand while maintaining the lowest cost per bit so our business can continue to flourish.”

The utilisation of six 250Gbps carriers, with electrical speeds 30 percent up on current technology, maximised the capacity whilst channel spacing remained in line with the 50GHz ITU-T grid.

Sam Bucci, head of Nokia's optical business, said: “Our recently announced photonic engine, the PSE2, and our 500G muxponder, in combination with Orange's talented engineers and rock solid network infrastructure, made this technical feat possible. We’re proud of this accomplishment and look forward to more innovation as the telco cloud network takes hold.”

Orange and Nokia also demonstrated with a real-time transponder a record spectral efficiency of 5 bits/Hz with 250Gbps in 50GHz over 870km by using 16QAM modulation format. The new optical link could transmit up to 24Tbps of traffic in total if 96 channels amplifiers were used.

The French operator has set a 2020 date for launch of 5G services in Europe, but has warned the current regulatory environment, which has halted a number of mergers and acquisitions in Europe, could delay roll out as operators struggle for necessary scale to invest in new technologies.

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