In jointly conducted research of optical systems, Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and the Technical University of Munich achieved a 1 Terabit-per-second transmission rate over optical fiber
Probabilistic Constellation Shaping provides greater flexibility and performance to enable optical networks to operate closer to the Shannon limit to meet growing consumer and business data demands
Breakthrough will allow telecommunication operators and enterprises to further maximize the distance and capacity of high speed data transmission in optical metro and core networks
September 16, 2016
Duesseldorf, Germany - Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and the Technical University of Munich have achieved unprecedented transmission capacity and spectral efficiency in an optical communications field trial with a new modulation technique. The breakthrough research could extend the capability of optical networks to meet surging data traffic demands.
The demonstration shows that the flexibility and performance of optical networks can be maximized when adjustable transmission rates are dynamically adapted to channel conditions and traffic demands. As part of the Safe and Secure European Routing (SASER) project, the experiment over a deployed optical fiber network of Deutsche Telekom achieved a net 1 Terabit transmission rate. This is close to the theoretical maximum information transfer rate of that channel and thus approaching the Shannon Limit of the fiber link.
The Shannon Limit was discovered in 1948 by Claude Shannon, Bell Labs pioneer and the "father of information theory."
The trial of the novel modulation approach, known as Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), uses quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) formats to achieve higher transmission capacity over a given channel to significantly improve the spectral efficiency of optical communications.
PCS modifies the probability with which constellation points - the alphabet of the transmission - are used. Traditionally, all constellation points are used with the same frequency. PCS cleverly uses constellation points with high amplitude less frequently than those with lesser amplitude to transmit signals that, on average, are more resilient to noise and other impairments. This allows the transmission rate to be tailored to ideally fit the transmission channel, delivering up to 30 percent greater reach.
The research is a key milestone in proving PCS could be used in the future to extend optical communication technologies.
It was 50 years ago when optical fiber was introduced. With the promise of 5G wireless technology on the horizon, optical transport systems today continue to evolve to help telecommunications operators and enterprises meet network data traffic growing at a cumulative annual rate of up to 100 percent. PCS is now part of this evolution by enabling increases in optical fiber flexibility and performance that can move data traffic faster and over greater distances without increasing the optical network complexity.
Nokia Bell Labs will present the results of this joint experiment at the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany on September 19.
Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, Director Technology Telekom Deutschland and CTO Deutsche Telekom, said: "To guarantee a high customer experience for future services we need optical transmissions with increased capacities, reach and flexibility over deployed fiber infrastructures. Deutsche Telekom provides a unique network infrastructure to evaluate and demonstrate such highly innovative transmission technologies for example. Furthermore, it also supports higher layer test scenarios and technologies."
Gerhard Kramer, Professor, Technical University of Munich, said : "Information theory is the mathematics of digital technology, and during the Claude E. Shannon centenary year 2016 it is thrilling to see his ideas continue to transform industries and society. Probabilistic constellation shaping, an idea that won a Bell Labs Prize, directly applies Shannon's principles and lets fiber optic systems transmit data faster, further, and with unparalleled flexibility. The success of the close collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs, who further developed the technology, and Deutsche Telekom T-Labs, who tested it under real conditions, is satisfying confirmation that TUM Engineering is a label of outstanding quality, and that TUM teaching gives our students the intellectual tools to compete, succeed and lead globally."
Marcus Weldon, president Nokia Bell Labs & Nokia CTO, said: "Future optical networks not only need to support orders of magnitude higher capacity, but also the ability to dynamically adapt to channel conditions and traffic demand. Probabilistic Constellation Shaping offers great benefits to service providers and enterprises by enabling optical networks to operate closer to the Shannon Limit to support massive datacenter interconnectivity and provide the flexibility and performance required for modern networking in the digital era."
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About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies with more than 156 million mobile customers, 29 million fixed-network lines and around 18 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2015). The Group provides fixed-network/broadband, mobile communications, Internet, and Internet-based TV products and services for consumers, and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has around 225,200 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 69.2 billion in the 2015 financial year - around 64 percent of it outside Germany.
About Technical University of Munich
Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe's leading research universities, with more than 500 professors, around 10,000 academic and non-academic staff, and 39,000 students. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, reinforced by schools of management and education. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with a campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006 and 2012 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany.
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