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Nokia pushes optical network capacity to theoretical limits with Photonic Service Engine 3 chipset; massive scale and radical simplicity for video, cloud and 5G growth

Press Release

Nokia pushes optical network capacity to theoretical limits with Photonic Service Engine 3 chipset; massive scale and radical simplicity for video, cloud and 5G growth

  • First chipset to implement probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS), a technique pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs that pushes fiber-optic performance close to the Shannon limit
  • Enables maximum capacity over any distance and on any fiber - from metro to subsea - increasing capacity up to 65% over currently deployed networks while reducing power by 60%
  • Reduces complexity and dramatically simplifies network operations
  • Increases financial return and longevity of expensive optical fibers by using latent capacity
  • Ideally suited to meet surging traffic demands of video, cloud and 5G for webscale companies and communication service providers


06 March 2018

Espoo, Finland - Nokia today announced the next generation of its Photonic Service Engine (PSE) family of super-coherent digital signal processors, underscoring its leading position in the industry and innovation pedigree. The Nokia PSE-3 will be instrumental in the evolution of communication service provider (CSP) and webscale networks to meet the surging traffic demands of video, cloud and 5G by maximizing the capacity and performance of every link in their optical networks. 

The PSE-3 chipset is the first coherent digital signal processor to implement probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS), a modulation technique pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs. PCS pushes optical fiber transmission capacity to very near the Shannon Limit - the maximum theoretical capacity of a communications channel, defined by Claude Shannon in 1948 while a researcher at Bell Labs.

By intelligently shaping the signal to match the characteristics of the optical fiber, PCS generates wavelengths that are more resilient to noise and other impairments, increasing capacity up to 65 percent over currently deployed networks, while also reducing power per bit by 60 percent. Networks built with systems using the new chipset require up to 35 percent fewer optical transponders, and by recovering latent capacity in deployed fiber, the PSE-3 extends the life of existing line systems and subsea cables, resulting in significant long-term savings.

The chipset not only maximizes performance, but does so at any possible distance within an optical network - from metro to subsea. The PSE-3 is ideal for CSPs and webscale companies looking to push the limits of their optical networks and increase their return on expensive fibers.

With its extremely powerful yet simple programmability, the PSE-3 presents an ideal opportunity for network operators to grow beyond the limited flexibility of the 100G/200G networks that are prevalent today, to a highly scalable and automation-ready network. Reversing the tide of ever-increasing complexity in Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) systems, the PSE-3 provides finely adjustable wavelength capacity from 100G to 600G with a single, uniform modulation format, baud rate, and channel size. This radically simplifies network operations and planning, while greatly facilitating the dynamic operations that enable network operators to deploy innovative services and lower costs.

Rajesh Singh, GM Value Management and Procurement, Spark New Zealand, said: "Spark and Nokia have a proud partnership delivering optical innovation in New Zealand and ensuring our network stays ahead of market demand. Building on our 2012 introduction of 100G transport and 200G in 2017, the new Nokia Bell Labs powered PSE-3 technology will allow Spark to plan towards 400G and 1Tb services supporting the significant predicted traffic demands of 5G, video, business services and IoT. We're very excited about the world leading capability of the Nokia PSE-3 to help us meet those demands and at the same time reducing the cost per transported bit."

Andrew Schmitt, founder and lead analyst at Cignal AI, said: "With the arrival of the new PSE-3, Nokia is making a significant leap forward in the performance of high-end coherent DSPs. PCS enables network operators to extract maximum spectral efficiency out of their networks. This technology also enhances all distances and applications, which makes it ideal to address the requirements of not only cloud and colocation operators, but also traditional incumbent and cable MSO providers."

Sam Bucci, head of optical networks for Nokia, said "This is a breakthrough in how we can maximize the performance of optical networks and, at the same time, vastly simplify operations. The Photonic Service Engine 3 is the culmination of a decade of research and first-hand experience building the largest, highest capacity optical networks in the world. By introducing this extreme and yet remarkably simple programmability, our customers can now maximize the capacity of every link in their network, whether that's 10 km, 10,000 km or beyond. They will be able to keep their costs under control while handling the huge bandwidth demands that video, cloud, and soon 5G will be throwing at them."

The PSE-3 will be available across Nokia's packet-optical portfolio, including a new version of the 1830 Photonic Service Interconnect, a compact modular WDM platform widely adopted by internet content providers for high capacity datacenter interconnect. Based on a modular chassis architecture, the 1830 PSI-M will offer both cost-optimized and high-performance modules utilizing the PSE-3, and will be available in Q3 2018.

Nokia will host an event March 13, 2:45pm in booth #2228 at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, California, March 13-15. Senior Nokia executives along with Bell Labs researchers and customers will present the inspiration and vision behind Nokia's latest innovation, and the next chapter of the company's portfolio enhancements. The 1830 PSI-M and other Nokia optical networking products will also be featured in the Nokia booth.

Did You Know


  • Photonic Service Engine (PSE) webpage
  • Photos, Infographic: media library
  • Nokia Photonic Service Engine 3: Taking light to the limit video
  • Nokia Photonic Service Engine 3: What limits us, inspires us video 
  • The Shannon Limit video
  • Sam Bucci blog

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