CANARIE, StarLight, Ciena experiment with 300 Gbps via 8QAM

Ciena (NYSE: CIEN), Canadian research and education (R&E) network operator CANARIE, and the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility Consortium say they have successfully demonstrated 300-Gbps optical transmission. The 300-Gbps trial leverage a pair of 150-Gbps wavelengths based on 8QAM modulation.

Ciena (NYSE: CIEN), Canadian research and education (R&E) network operator CANARIE, and the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility Consortium say they have successfully demonstrated 300-Gbps optical transmission. The 300-Gbps trial leverage a pair of 150-Gbps wavelengths based on 8QAM modulation.

The partners announced the trial last week at the TNC16 Networking Conference in Prague.

With some fiber-optic network routes beginning to outgrow 100-Gbps transmission, network operators have begun to look for ways to increase transmission rates and fiber capacity. Technology developers originally offered 400-Gbps transmission as a potential next transmissions step. However, the 16QAM modulation format upon which the current generation of 400G options are based (with a few exceptions) suffers from a reach penalty that often means that 100-Gbps links can't be upgraded to 400 Gbps without the addition of regeneration capabilities or other changes to the infrastructure.

Systems houses therefore have offered alternatives that don't quite support 400 Gbps, but can match the reach of current 100-Gbps links. The use of 8QAM to support a combined 300 Gbps over a pair of 150-Gbps wavelengths is one such alternative.

The collaborators on the trial connected Ciena's labs in Ottawa with StarLight's Chicago-based R&E communication services exchange facility more than 1,440 km away. As CANARIE's network leverages Ciena optical transport platforms (see, for example, "CANARIE upgrades 100G research & education network with Ciena"), the demonstration may lead to deployment of 300 Gbps on CANARIE's network in the foreseeable future.

"Traffic on our network continues to surge as we enable Canadian researchers, educators, and innovators to leverage advanced digital tools and massive data resources. This trial demonstrated that Ciena's Waveserver is capable of enabling us to scale our network in order to help keep Canada at the forefront of digital research and innovation," said Mark Wolff, CTO at CANARIE.

The trial is the latest in a series of collaborations among the three parties on networking-related research (see, for example, "Ciena joins research and education networks to study SDN for optical WANs").

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