512 Gbps! Deutsche Telekom touts speed breakthrough

One thing about the exploding demand for broadband capacity is the way it encourages carriers to research new ways to cope — and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom is the latest to come through with a new solution for the capacity crunch.
In a project grandly named OSIRIS (Optically Supported IP Router Interfaces), Telekom’s Berlin-based T-Labs team managed to get data pumping through a single optical fiber channel at a rate of 512 Gigabits per second. It was a real-world demo too, working over the 734km Berlin-Hannover-Berlin round-trip, Deutsche Telekom.
The carrier put a slight dampener on things by pointing out that the usable per-channel bit-rate would only be 400 Gbps, but –- given that the maximum bit-rate in today’s state-of-the-art networks is a relatively measly 100 Gbps per channel -– that still represents a huge capacity boost.
Bear in mind, too, that each fiber strand uses dozens of channels –- 48 in the case of the T-Labs system. So T-Labs’ new tech should mean a whopping 24.6 Tbps max throughput for each optical fiber. Bundle those fibers together and you get the kind of network a carrier would be looking for right now.
Putting it into context, Telekom said that “a collection of 3,696 CDs could thus be transferred over a single optical fiber — a strand thinner than a human hair — at the same time” using the new technique.
What comes next is a bit unclear. T-Labs says existing networks don’t need cable replacements to take advantage of the new speeds – they just need new terminal equipment. However, there’s no word yet on when Alcatel-Lucent and other kit-makers will start commercializing the new technology — but if providers like Deutsche Telekom want to join in the action, they will have to wait for this new equipment to appear before it’s possible.