On a portion of fiber in the south of France belonging to Orange, the French operation and the technical teams of Chinese Huawei made circular data at 157 terabits per second.
If Huawei is excluded from mobile networks in France, the Chinese remain the king of equipment, as evidenced by a new record. The French operator Orange called on the Chinese to break the (unapproved) world record for data traffic over 120 km of commercial fiber at the rather crazy speed of 157 terabits per second. Converted to a more common language, that’s 19,625 terabytes per second (1 byte = 8 bits). Or 19625 GB per second. Or the equivalent of 2800 households that would download a long Netflix film in 4K (up to 7 GB) in a single second!
Read also: Fiber optics: deployment is slowing down and Arcep is concerned (Nov. 2022)
The technological trick to pass so much data on a fiber was to aggregate the wavelengths. The 18 THz bandwidth was achieved by combining the 12 THz already offered by a commercial solution from Huawei combining long (L) and conventional (C) wavelengths with a short wave (s) band. By using a spectrum of 240 different wavelengths – which must be controlled and synchronized using exclusive software algorithms – the Chinese and French were able to “open the floodgates” and take advantage of a monstrous throughput of 157 Terabit/s .
50% more throughput on the same infrastructure
The purpose of the approach was neither to make people race, nor to get into the Guinness Pound, since the record is not approved. As Gilles Bourdon, Vice-President Fixed Networks and Infrastructure at Orange Innovation comments in the press release: “ The results obtained during the field test prove the capacity of our fiber infrastructure to offer 50% more spectrum and therefore to meet two major challenges: the experience and the connectivity of our customers. “.
Read also: Will the French all have optical fiber in 2025? (June 2022)
Emphasizing that ” the spectral efficiency of these optical systems reaches a theoretical limit “, the Frenchman here explains that this experience proves that Orange will be able to respond “ to the continuous increase in traffic demand “. And this, with existing installations, thus limiting investments in new fiber technologies. Whose progress is increasingly difficult to obtain because “ the spectral efficiency of these optical systems reaches a theoretical limit “, as the engineer explains.
Huawei always in demand for its know-how
While several new reports of the blacklisting of Huawei in the 4G and 5G mobile networks for fears of espionage on the part of China, the Chinese, who had been discreet recently, reappeared in the media space. Whether for its fundamental research institute, the “Centre Lagrange”, or its teams dedicated to r&d concentrated in France, such as its image processor development center in Sofia Antipolis.
Read also: We visited the French R&D center that made Huawei the king of smartphone photography (Oct. 2022)
Apart from the fact that this is pure signal processing and not a software “black box” like 5G network cores, there is a very pragmatic reason for this: Huawei remains the 1 in the world for network equipment. And he remains one of the biggest R&D investors in the world (he was the 2e worldwide in 2020 behind Alphabet/Google). A war of big numbers that translates into mastery in the field. Whether wired or wireless networks.
While the Orange/Huawei announcement is impressive, don’t wait to double your speeds tomorrow: it’s not a question of developing new offers, but rather of being able to absorb the increase in the number of connections to the Orange network without (too) changing hardware. The question being to know what will be the cruising speed of current equipment – this is a record, but Orange has not said what the sustainable speed will be in the long term. And at what scale of its network (in percentages) will Orange be able to transpose this advanced technique.