News: BT and Huawei achieve real-world 3Tbps fibre speeds

Sick and tired of your slow home broadband connection? Still getting 2 Mbps on a good day with the wind behind you? Well this news is really going to upset you!

BT and Huawei today announced field trial speeds of up to three Terabits per second (Tbps), believed to be the fastest real-time super channel speeds ever achieved over an existing fibre link using commercial grade hardware and software in a real world operational environment. The speeds are the equivalent to transmitting around 100 HD films in a single second.

• A real-time 3Tbps super channel, comprising of 15 x 200Gbps (16-QAM) sub channels, bundled together to provide combined capacity.
• Sub channels separated by as little as 33.5GHz, resulting in record spectral efficiency of 5.97b/s/Hz – an increase of around 50 percent in spectral efficiency compared to conventional 50GHz fixed grid infrastructure.
• A 3Tbps super channel, configured and monitored from a live operational environment: BT’s Transport Network Operations Centre (TNOC) in Cambridge.
• Trials performed using production grade 16-QAM transponders, Flexgrid hardware and management software.

In other words, the core network infrastructure (or fabric if you like) in parts of the UK is currently capable of speeds of up too 3 Tbps (Terabit per second). Actually capable, not just theoretically capable, albeit in a trial environment.  Most broadband providers in the UK are currently offering speeds to urban consumers of up to 152 Mbps (Megabit per second, Mbit/s or Mb/s). That’s 1,000,000 megabits per second.

The UK average broadband speed (as of 15th April 2014) is a meager 17.8Mbit/s, so still some way to go yet.

Some more interesting facts and figures about UK broadband (source: Ofcom):

  • the average urban download speed in November 2013 was 31.9Mbit/s, a 21% increase since May 2013;
  • the average suburban download speed in November 2013 was 21.8Mbit/s, a 22% increase since May 2013.
  • The research also suggests that average speeds in rural areas increased from 9.9Mbit/s to 11.3Mbit/s between May and November 2013. The sizes of the rural samples from which these averages were taken, however, are not large enough for the change to be deemed statistically significant. As such, the figures should be treated as indicative only.



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