While most people are lucky enough to receive high-speed internet via cable, fiber, or LTE, the carriers need serious backhaul in order to provide that to customers on a consistent basis. As we all demand faster speeds and suck down more bandwidth, they need to look ahead and see how they can add greater capacity. ZTE may just have what they’re looking for.
Computer World reports that the company has demonstrated optical networking that can achieve speeds of up to 1.7Tbit/s. It’s achieved by using a method called Wavelength Division Multiplexing, which can send data over different wavelengths over the same optical fiber. By combining eight channels, each capable of carrying 216.4Gbit/s, ZTE can that break the Tbit/s threshold.
Distance doesn’t seem to be an issue, either: ZTE say the demonstration was carried out over 1,750 km. They don’t know exactly when products featuring 200Gbit/s and higher be will utilized, but they wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to upgrade from 100Gbit/s per channel. Just like in the smartphone arena, arch-rival Huawei isn't sitting still: last week it demonstrated a similar system, but managed to achieve 400Gbit/s per channel instead.
Right now, carriers typically use 10Gbit/s for their backhaul, which could become overrun as we move to faster wired and wireless broadband speeds. Right now they’re aiming to upgrade to 40Gbit/s or 100Gbit/s, with the higher speed favoured due to its lower cost per bit.