Alcatel-Lucent tackles the capacity crunch caused by the rapid growth in video with fibre optic technology four times faster than today’s networks

As communications service providers face the increasing challenge of a network capacity crunch due to the demands of smartphone ownership and growing video traffic, Alcatel-Lucent is introducing the Photonic Service Engine (PSE), a new chip for fibre optic networks that offers double the capacity, and four times the speed of today’s networks.

Built on innovations from Bell Labs, the Alcatel-Lucent Photonic Service Engine supports 400 gigabit per second (400G) data transmission speeds on optical networks.

The unabated growth of broadband, mobile data and cloud-based services has presented a major challenge for service providers that need to find ways to keep costs in check while dramatically expanding the capacity of their networks. The Photonic Service Engine will bring substantial improvements to 100G coherent optical networks, which are being deployed by operators today. The PSE also lays the foundation for the smooth migration to 400G networks in future.

“Speed is a factor for all service providers today: the speed of the network and the speed with which new services can be brought to market,” said Mr. Keiichi Makizono, Corporate Officer, Deputy Unit Head, Technology Unit & Division Head, Network Division, SOFTBANK TELECOM in Japan. “With millions of people looking to us to access the full range of online content, we see Alcatel-Lucent’s 400G innovation as the gateway to a long, successful future.”

“Alcatel-Lucent’s next generation coherent optical engine exemplifies the coupling of Bell Labs advanced research and the company’s 100G commercial market experiences,” said Sterling Perrin, Heavy Reading Senior Analyst. “The PSE may well be the first commercial 400G chip, but, just as significantly, it will improve the economics and performance of 100G systems – broadening and accelerating 100G market adoption.”

Alcatel-Lucent is the clear leader in the market for 100G optical solutions, with 69 percent market share according to the report “external linkOVUM: High-Speed Optics: Global 40G/100G Market Outlook, January 2012.”

The versatile 400G PSE chip can be deployed in a broad range of network configurations – from metro to regional to ultra-long haul – and transmit wavelengths over existing or new photonic lines. It is designed specifically for use in a family of line cards in the industry-leading Alcatel-Lucent 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), used today in over 120 networks around the world. It enables more than 23 Terabits of traffic to be transmitted along a single optical fibre and further enhances performance by more than 50 per cent, while reducing power consumed per gigabit by a third. The PSE is highly configurable, giving operators enormous flexibility to adjust the appropriate optical parameters to produce the best performance for varying conditions in the field.

James Watt, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Optics Division, said: “From the start we correctly identified the challenges presented by 100G transport, applied the correct technology solution and commercialised it, a decision supported by the deployment of our solution with more than 55 customers worldwide. The introduction of the Alcatel-Lucent400G Photonic Service Engine is the latest example of how we are continuing to develop leading technology and leverage innovations from Bell Labs to redefine ‘state-of-the-art’ in optical networking and keep our customers ahead of the game.”

Recently, the technology behind the chip was put to the test when external link Deutsche Telecom’s Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs) and Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs broke a transmission distance record on optical networks, doubling transmission capacity by employing the same process that sits at the heart of the Alcatel-Lucent PSE.

“Together with our technology partner Alcatel-Lucent and the experts at Telekom Network Production, we are very proud of having attained this tremendous transmission performance over the Internet under real-world conditions,” said T-Labs Manager, Heinrich Arnold. “With them, we have successfully developed an innovative method by which the transmission capacity of optical fibre can be increased significantly in network operation.”

The 1830 PSS, which is powered by the Photonic Service Engine, is a key element of the Alcatel-Lucent High Leverage Network (HLN) architecture, which is designed to provide massive capacity while slashing transport costs and dramatically reducing operational complexity in core networks.

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