Verizon completes long-haul 800Gbps single-wavelength fibre data session

Verizon has revealed a successful test of a live fibre network to move 800Gbps of data on a single wavelength across extreme distances. It says this advancement in its fibre network will lay the back-haul groundwork for managing the gigabit speeds, super low single-digit millisecond latency and huge scalability needed to support its 5G Ultra Wide Band (UWB) network.

Earlier this year, Verizon announced its success as the first carrier in the industry to move 800Gbps with multiple suppliers over a short distance on a single wavelength. With the completion of this new demonstration, carried out with Infinera, Verizon claims to have become the first carrier in the industry to advance this fibre technology to a long-haul scenario.

The comms supplier believes the inherent characteristics of 5G technology will support a wide variety of use cases, including everything from massive numbers of IoT (internet of things) devices that do very little networking, to smartphones with infinite opportunities to use data, to more complex solutions such as AR/VR (augmented/virtual reality) that will require massive computing capabilities on the edge of the network.

As each of those solutions requires different combinations of the capabilities 5G will offer, Verizon said that to “right-size” network resources for these various use cases will require great flexibility and agility in the network.

Verizon has added virtualisation throughout the network, built open RAN platforms and a containerised core, designed dynamic spectrum sharing, and infused the network with intelligence to allow artificial intelligence/machine learning algorithms to drive efficiency and performance. Yet it recognises that the success of these and other efforts all rely on Verizon’s ability to move significant amounts of data through the fibre back-haul network.

“With the evolution into more robust 5G applications and solutions, the ability to move massive amounts of data across long distances becomes even more crucial,” said Kevin Smith, vice-president of technology planning and development for Verizon. “Continuing to advance the capabilities of our extensive fibre network alongside advancements in 5G technology, the radio access network and the network core will result in an unparalleled network experience for our consumer and enterprise customers.”

The trial was conducted over Verizon’s live production network with a combination of industry standard fibres. The trial used Infinera’s fifth-generation coherent optical technology, ICE6 (Infinite Capacity Engine), equipped in a GX Series platform. It saw a 800Gbps single-wavelength transmission over 667km between Nashville and Atlanta and a 600Gbps single-wavelength transmission over 2,283km from Atlanta to Memphis with a loop back in Memphis. There was also a 400Gbps single-wavelength transmission over 4,091km from Atlanta to Dallas with a loop back in Dallas.

“The success of this trial is one more step in the journey to fully realising the power and potential of our 5G UWB network,” said Smith. “As the traffic volume from advanced 5G solutions grows exponentially, our fibre network will be ready to handle it.”