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Huawei unveils 2Tbps superchannel prototype

08 August 2012
Huawei has developed a prototype optical system that carries 2Tbps DWDM superchannels – an increase in data rate of 20 times compared to commercially available systems, and double what’s been demonstrated anywhere else before. The remarkable superchannel capacity reduces operational complexity by minimizing the number of channels.

According to Huawei, the prototype improves spectrum efficiency and increases the maximum transmission capacity using G.652 fiber and common EDFAs. The 2-Tbps signal occupies a spectral width of 300GHz, and increases total fiber capacity to 56Tbps by utilizing wavelengths in both the C- and L- bands.

The prototype builds on work the Chinese vendor talked about earlier this year, when it unveiled a DWDM prototype based on a flexible grid using increments of 12.5GHz (see Huawei details flexible grid WDM prototype). The fine granularity of the frequency grid provides additional flexibility in terms of trading optical capacity and transmission reach.
A programmable network controller is used to configure parameters such as the number of subcarriers, subcarrier spacing, modulation codes and forward error correction (FEC) modes, achieving flexible adjustments in several factors including line rates, transmission distances and transmission capacity. The 2-Tbps superchannel can be transmitted over a distance of 1,000km without electrical regeneration, the vendor says.
Huawei appears to have stolen a lead on other optical vendors.  At OFC/NFOEC back in March, Verizon and NEC reported a high-capacity field trial using multiple 1Tbps superchannels. Ericsson also demonstrated 1-Tbps superchannel transmission at OFC/NFOEC, while ZTE showed off a 400G/1T prototype at Informa’s WDM & Next-Generation Optical Networking event in Monaco in June. 
However, it should be noted that the system is a prototype and no date has been given for the product release.  In the meantime both Alcatel-Lucent and Ciena have firm plans to support 400G operation commercially by the end of the year (see Alcatel-Lucent matches Ciena’s 400G chipset). 
It could also be argued that Huawei’s system is ahead of its time. Although some early adopters have been examining 400G products, most operators are still focused on deploying their first 100G systems.
By Pauline Rigby