back to article Alcatel-Lucent and BT unveil super fat pipe, splurt out 1.4Tb per second across London

Alcatel-Lucent has teamed up with BT to test an "alien superchannel" across an existing fibre pipe, with the resulting record-breaking 1.4 Tbps they achieved able to transmit a five-month-long grumble flick in just one second. The pair achieved 1.4 terabits per second using a BT's fibre-optic pipe between the BT Tower and BT's …


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  1. Ol'Peculier

    Grumble flick

    Only you guys can turn a story like this into the amount of porn and how fast you can squirt down a tube...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Another benefit for London and maybe one or two cities while much of the outlying areas of the country can't even get a reasonable broadband speed.

      What about the rest of us Mr BT?

      Maybe you should concentrate more on that rather than spending a fortune on headline grabbers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great

        It will benefit all as a lot of your traffic and everybody else's traffic will transit through london. Not so true as it used to be with peering points in Manchester and Leeds now and probably other places but still a lot of traffic will at some point pass through connectivity in London.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Great

        "Maybe you should concentrate more on that rather than spending a fortune on headline grabbers."

        Rather a lot of people live in London and the other big cities.

      3. Elmer Phud

        Re: Great

        Years ago on the Blasted Heath they demonstrated how to bung decent TV down a copper pair.

        Westmonster Cable was born and Rupes ended up with the satellites.

        The world was changed for ever.

      4. Tom 38

        Re: Great

        This has nothing to do with "making your broadband faster". This is about increasing the speed of pre-existing links by upgrading the bits at the end, so they get network upgrades without having to actually upgrade (much of) the physical network.

        The point is to ease congestion on POPs/exchanges that have reached capacity and yet have no commercial incentive to upgrade. Its not to make your ADSL go fast in a little village somewhere.

        Plus, if you ever did want your little village to have fast internet, then the backbone within the UK would have to be much much faster. Hence working on things like this, rather than trying to lay 50x as much fibre on trunk links.

  2. PeterO
    Thumb Up

    At least there is no mention of this being to do with "superfast broadband" in ElReg's coverage, unlike every other news site that doesn't understand the technology.

    1. Steven Raith

      Boom, headshot.

      What's the physical limit on a single twisted pair? Somewhere in the region of 150mb/sec in ideal conditions, I'd assume, given than 100mb aggregate seems fairly relaible at the moment given adequate filtering.

      I'm guessing we won't see speeds above 120mb down/30mb up until FTTP becomes defacto standard - which would be another massive infrastructure push, and require rather more work inside the home to terminate the fibre and convert it to a 'friendlier' format (CAT5/6) for home routing.

      Still, at least it's more bandwidth for the backbone, eh?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think purists can argue that the term 'broadband' is exactly right for this deployment, based upon the words intended original meaning (wiki quote:)

      "The term broadband refers to the wide bandwidth characteristics of a transmission medium and its ability to transport multiple signals and traffic types simultaneously."

      It's entirely true that "Joe Public" equates the term to access technology to the premise. But we know better, eh?

    3. TheWeenie

      A case in point being BBC's website where they try to explain what this really means, claiming that one Gigabit is 1024 Megabits.


  3. Anomalous Cowturd

    410km? WTF?

    Did they go via Nottingham?

    Google says it's 1 hour 46 minutes in current traffic, and 81 miles (130km)...

    1. ukgnome

      Re: 410km? WTF?

      It says the cable length is 410km

      This is typical of BT, they followed an as the buzby flies method of cable deployment.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    this actually means is that the bigwigs in charge of BT have figured out a way of shoving 5 times as much data down a fibre optic cable.

    This research has cost BT umpteen millions... which is still cheaper than digging up the cables and laying 5 next to each other......therefore , fat bonuses all round to the senior managers, P45s all round for the research team as they're not needed any more and .1 of a second downloading before I hit my allowance for the day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What

      No, what it means is that some of the boffins in Acatel.Lucent's labs have developed a way to send three times as much data through a single transponder on an 1830PSS (up from the previous 400Gb/sec of current transponders) and BT have provided a first-in reference installation.

      The important thing about this demonstration is not that it can be done, but that it has been done in a production environment as an upgrade to an existing product, rather than being an entirely new product line or a lab demo.

      Disclaimer: Yes, I work for one of the parties involved in this demonstration and work with the 1830PSS product.

      1. Fatman

        Re: What

        send three times as much data through a single transponder on an 1830PSS

        My 'takeaway' of getting the higher throughput, assuming the fiber can handle it, amounts to just a "box change" at each end.

        So, am I correct?


      Why not put in a bigger cable.

      Not really a big deal as you do not lay a cable with single fibres, On a backbone cables can have over 200 fibres. It is common to put a cable with much much more fibre than you need. Laying a fatter cables with extra fibres adds very little cost. The big cost is putting in the ducts (tubes in the ground) If there is space in existing ducts, laying a new cable is 1 ot 2 K pounds - two or three man crew one day per Km regardless of the number of fibres. Splicing cables together takes time. But you can do that as you fill the cable. Fibre is basically free, as it is an asset share by many. The cost is local loop to the house.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Why not put in a bigger cable.

        >as you do not lay a cable with single fibres

        That is today, there is much single core fibre infrastructure that dates from the 80's ...

        Also you are forgetting that a lease-line provider will charge for the number of dedicated circuits/cables. Hence this potentially means that a client of BT can 'upgrade' their existing fibre between their Docklands and Ipswich datacentres say with little or no increase in leased line costs. Which may be an important consideration for some companies in the City where they have run out of duct space...

        The art will be pricing this so that the cost of upgrading the ends is appreciably lower than the cost of deploying more fibre either directly or by purchasing more circuits from BT say...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    5-month-long grumble flick

    What's it titled, and did the actors and actresses survive?

    1. davemcwish

      Re: 5-month-long grumble flick

      "21 and a half weeks" (sequel to the Kim Basinger effort)

  6. ADJB


    So can we assume that all broadband story's will now be quantified using the new Register standard of "low res grumble flicks /second" with additional standards of "HD grumble flicks / second" and "4k grumble flicks / second" as they become more applicable?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Standards

      I think a more easily understandable and universal el Reg measurement in this category would be PPS (porn per second).

      Paris, because we,'ll always have her....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, I get one of these links to my ISP, right?

    And the ISP's speed-test screen gives up and explodes --- but they still only give me a few GB/sec of their pipeline to the rest of the world, which is where the internet is.

  8. Roger Stenning

    So, realistically...

    ...we're talking three times the throughput at the termination point (the customer), without any expensive and long-term road and pavement works to replace cabling and roadside boxes?

    My only niggle is wondering how long it'll take the relevant parties to roll this out into the real world.

    Still, when all's said and done, it's nothing to be sniffed at, when you think about it.

  9. Dick Emery

    Forget the local loop

    I could do with the French peer my ISP is currently routing through sorting out their damned router!'s routing to a site I stream to has been b0rked for at least two weeks now with massive packet loss in the evenings. What are those French doing I wonder. Hogging the bandwidth with Grand Freres(sp)?

    But my ISP tells me it is out of their control. :(

  10. Tromos

    Another way of looking at it... hitting your monthly usage cap in just milliseconds.

    1. davemcwish

      Re: Another way of looking at it...

      130 for me...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The cable would support 1.5 tb/second.....

    But those NSA/GCHQ packet sniffers take the edge off some :)

    (Oh come on, you knew some comment like that was coming)

  12. Sirius Lee


    Google maps shows the distance between BT Tower and Adastral Park is 88miles (150Km). So saying the cable went between these two points is like saying the London Marathon is from Blackheath to The Mall.

    Was this cable used by anything else? It is normally used or is it a special research cable? Where does the cable go? Does it tour around Cambridgeshire first? It could visit Sheffield en route and still have some slack.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 410KM

      Telecoms topology rarely uses a straight line in the trunk layer - there are buildings and things in the way. An end-to-end route us usually made up of sections of fibre patched together. There can't possibly be enough traffic between London and Ipswich to warrant building a direct and exclusive cable route. It's likely that there are a number of concentric rings around London and the route to Ipswich is a spur off of one of those. Try looking at the distance from London to Birmingham and from there out to Colchester, and from there on to Ipswich.

      1. Tom 38

        Re: 410KM

        There can't possibly be enough traffic between London and Ipswich to warrant building a direct and exclusive cable route.

        Funnily enough, there are actually several direct trunks to BT's main research facility. Almost like they would push all their daily traffic up there to test stuff. Crazy.

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