First Demonstration of a 1 Petabit per Second Network Node

NICT has successfully implemented a network demonstration using state-of-the-art large-scale spatial optical switching, aiming at petabit-class next-generation optical networks using spatial-division multiplexing. (Source: NICT)

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology has developed and demonstrated the first large-scale optical switching test bed capable of handling one petabit per second optical signals. 1 Pb/s is equivalent to the capacity to send 8K video to ten million people simultaneously.

This demonstration made use of state-of-the-art large-scale and low-loss optical switches based on MEMS technology, three types of next-generation spatial-division multiplexing fibers, and included the routing of signals with capacities from ten terabit per second to one petabit per second. This corresponds to more than one hundred times the capacity of currently available networks.

This is a major step forward towards the early implementation of the petabit-class backbone optical networks capable of supporting the increasing requirements of internet services such as broadband video streaming, 5G mobile networks or Internet of Things. As such, the results of this demonstration were acknowledged by the scientific community with a post-deadline presentation at the 45th European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC 2019).

NICT has collaborated extensively with academia and industry to develop new types of optical fiber technologies and provide petabit-class communications for short and long reach backbone networks as well as data center networks. These included achievements such as the record petabit-class transmission in a single fiber (September 2015, September 2018), and the longest link using spatial division multiplexing amplifiers (March 2019).

However, petabit-class transmission requires petabit-class switching technologies to manage and reliably direct large amounts of data through complex networks. Up to now, such technologies have been beyond reach because the existing approaches are limited by complexity and/or performance. (Source: NICT)

Further reading: A World-Record 53.3 Tb/s Optical Switching Capacity,, 10th October 2017

Link: Photonic Network System Laboratory, Network System Research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology NICT, Tokyo, Japan

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