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BT Runs an 800Gbps Channel On Old Fiber

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

The Internet 127

judgecorp writes "BT has demonstrated an 800Gbps 'superchannel' on a 410km fiber in its core network, which was not able to carry 10Gbps channels using older technology. The superchannel is an advanced dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) technique, created by combining multiple coherent optical signals into one channel, which had previously been shown in laboratory tests. BT ran the test on a fiber with optical characteristics (high polarization mode dispersion) that made it unsuitable for 10GBps using current techniques. That's a good result for BT, because it means its existing core fiber network can be upgraded to handle more data. It's also a good customer story for Ciena, which makes the optical switches used in the test."

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That's great and all (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#43810125)

But when will they upgrade my 4Mbps down / 256Kbps up DSL connection that I pay through the nose per month for? Cuz really, I keep reading about those marvelous link speeds but in the past 10 years, I haven't seen much of that reach the average Joe Blow internet user like me...

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810153)

I get 10mbps and they say I can get up to 25mbps if I want it. Small town. Live in town. May or may not be able to get 10mbps right outside of town. Was able to get at least 3mbps though.

Re:That's great and all (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43810157)

It's the last mile problem, and they haven't even started working on it really. New estates are being built with only FTTC and ADSL available instead of just taking the opportunity to run fibre right into each home.

BT always does the absolute minimum possible to remain slightly competitive. That's all we can ever expect.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810291)

They always do the bare minimum because everything they do they are forced to provide at rock bottom costs to their competitors.

If they made a massive investment putting fibre to all the homes in Britain OFCOM would force them to cheaply rent out their infrastructure to resellers like they already have to do now. It makes no sense for them to be anything other than slightly ahead of the curve, blame the regulators for that not BT.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810501)

On a network that was handed to them for not 1 by the government of the day... Now it is all about profits etc... I hate them with a passion. I have actually voted with my feet and told them I will not be back until they provide fibre to my house... (I do know that I will never be back :) )

Re:That's great and all (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810603)

On a network that was handed to them for not 1 by the government of the day... Now it is all about profits etc... I hate them with a passion. I have actually voted with my feet and told them I will not be back until they provide fibre to my house... (I do know that I will never be back :) )

It wasn't handed over to them as a gift, its because it costs a fortune to maintain and the government wanted rid, the simple fact it was handed over for nothing should highlight the huge burden of maintaining the thing rather than give you some odd sense of entitlement to have fibre run to your home?

Im not saying BT are altruistic and they aren't out to make a profit but compared to the alternatives like virgin or the resellers basically profiteering by selling BTs service to end users they are certainly not the worst.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810709)

It wasn't handed over for nothing either. I believe they paid close to £20bn, which given inflation is higher than BTs market cap. I still think we should have kept the last mile publically owned, but at the very least, bt are offering you to pay for FTTH at the end of this quater, assuming you are already within a FTTC area, which should be most of the country in the next few years.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811281)

Right... and if they didn't have to do that, you'd end up with a situation not unlike what we have here in the US: no competition whatsoever.

Re:That's great and all (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43810311)

It's the last mile problem, and they haven't even started working on it really. New estates are being built with only FTTC and ADSL available instead of just taking the opportunity to run fibre right into each home.

BT always does the absolute minimum possible to remain slightly competitive. That's all we can ever expect.

They would never be able to run *only* fibre into the home, because they need to be able to provide power for POTS; so running fibre as well is an additional cost (this is also presumably why they still run POTS all the way back to the exchange instead of handling it at the cabinet). That said, there are a number of regions where you can get FTTP if you want.

Re:That's great and all (3, Informative)

LordVader717 (888547) | about a year ago | (#43810649)

Fibre providers have an ONU (optical network unit) supplied by the mains power on the property. Unless there's some kind of requirement for power-free phones I don't know about there really is no reason to run expensive copper wires.

Re:That's great and all (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43810729)

Fibre providers have an ONU (optical network unit) supplied by the mains power on the property. Unless there's some kind of requirement for power-free phones I don't know about there really is no reason to run expensive copper wires.

Fairly sure there's a legal requirement for the telco to keep the phones working during a power outage. Certainly do-able with fibre, but would require a UPS and regular battery servicing - probably cheaper just to run copper.

Re:That's great and all (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#43810773)

Back here in the UK a battery backed power supply is provided. I would have thought it would be cheaper to run some copper from the exchange and provide a standard -48VDC to the building. You could even use the copper or copper coated steel as armour for your fibre.

Re:That's great and all (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43812035)

Back here in the UK a battery backed power supply is provided. I would have thought it would be cheaper to run some copper from the exchange and provide a standard -48VDC to the building. You could even use the copper or copper coated steel as armour for your fibre.

In the UK too... I'm not sure how feasible it would be to run the fibre optic kit off a -48vdc supply that's been carried by several kilometers of wire... the equipment isn't going to be extremely low power and the resistance of the cable will not be negligable...

Re:That's great and all (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43810979)

My ISP just installed a UPS along with the fiber ONT. They said about 12 hours of run-time.

Re:That's great and all (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43811135)

regular battery servicing - probably cheaper just to run copper.

Sounds like a good application for iron-nickel batteries. Inefficient to charge, but they last forever. The nano-versions are more efficient but not on the market yet, though the customer is paying for the charging power so it probably doesn't matter.

Re:That's great and all (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#43811251)

Ever since I first ran across iron-nickel batteries I have wondered why they weren't used for large scale stationary electrical storage. Granted they don't have the best energy density but they are really reliable and from the sounds of it cheap to produce and easy to refresh. I was looking into them as a method to store energy for when I get around to getting a cabin in the north woods as it is nice to have lights at night and I really don't want to have to deal with transporting a generator and fuel.

Re:That's great and all (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | about a year ago | (#43812583)

Fairly sure there's a legal requirement for the telco to keep the phones working during a power outage.

There shouldn't be these days. Nearly everyone has a cell phone.

Re:That's great and all (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43812923)

Fairly sure there's a legal requirement for the telco to keep the phones working during a power outage.

There shouldn't be these days. Nearly everyone has a cell phone.

Which won't work when the base station is unpowered

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810959)

Er, why not? I have an internet service but no phone service in my house. I use a mobile phone to make and receive calls.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811499)

They're rolling out FTTH under the "Infinity 2" name, so anyone getting version 2 which is now everywhere is getting FTTH not FTTC.

Re:That's great and all (1)

cardpuncher (713057) | about a year ago | (#43811975)

Meanwhile, I noticed on my visit last week to the medieval Dutch city of Amersfoort [wikipedia.org] that every house in the historic city centre had an orange fibre tail outside the front door awaiting connection...

Re:That's great and all (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#43810537)

Just to make it clear while new estates might be being built FTTC there are strict standards that a developer must conform to for BT (actually Openreach) to provide a service. Basically everything must be underground and ducted. It should be quite easy for Openreach to pull a real fibre into any house built in the last decade. The problem is that over 90% of all the housing stock in the UK pre-dates this.

Documentation is here

http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/network/developingournetwork/documentationandinformation/buildersguide/downloads/developers_guide.pdf [openreach.co.uk]

In this context it makes economic sense to do FTTC at this point to a new estate. With FTTP on demand being rolled out shortly should you want/need it any you live in a recently built house then you are laughing as the install cost for the full fibre solution should be much lower due as they can just pull the fibre through the existing ducting.

Having said all that for reasons I don't understand Openreach want separate ducting for copper and fibre but that is just plain crazy if you ask me.

Re:That's great and all (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43810781)

Okay, this is 2013. A decade ago by ex-girlfriend was enjoying 100/100Mb fibre into her Japanese house for about £23/month. Many other western European countries have had it for nearly as long.

Britain is a backwater for broadband. Ours is expensive, slow, capped and limited. It's a bad, bad joke that we are still not installing fibre into brand new houses and that the only people who can even do it is the old monopoly BT. My ex got her broadband from the power company who laid the cable in power supply ducts.

Re:That's great and all (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about a year ago | (#43810983)

I won't use countries small Asian countries like JP or KR or EU countries like Britain as examples since they're only about the size of one of our large states here.

As much as I would love fiber here, people have other priorities like buying food or paying for their cell especially in this economy.

Re:That's great and all (1)

stdarg (456557) | about a year ago | (#43812331)

Being widespread with low population density is a problem in the US. Too expensive to run fiber out to the suburban or rural houses.

Also in the US, being small with high population density is a problem. Too expensive to run fiber in established cities. Imagine rewiring NYC!!

Of course then you have projects like Google Fiber, or more locally for me, Greenlight NC, that ARE DOING IT. So it's all bullshit. It is possible, and not especially difficult or expensive, in both urban and suburban areas, in the US. We just like to tell ourselves it's not possible because we haven't done it yet.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812497)

As much as I would love fiber here, people have other priorities like buying food or paying for their cell especially in this economy.

... Because Japanese people don't need food.

Re:That's great and all (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43813117)

Why do consumers need FTP and Compared to the USA we are miles better - the messed up the deregulation and did not mandate LLU

Re:That's great and all (4, Funny)

johnw (3725) | about a year ago | (#43810863)

Having said all that for reasons I don't understand Openreach want separate ducting for copper and fibre but that is just plain crazy if you ask me.

Obviously they are worried about cross-channel interference. That or the danger of high voltages on the fibre connections.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813435)

I think it might be more that copper can get hot if there is a problem, better to separate it from the expensive fiber than to let it melt it down.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810989)

Some new estates are being built with fibre. There's a company (whose name I forget) who do it for free, much to the delight of the building contractors. Of course, if you want to use the fibre you're using their ISP. If you don't want to use the fibre you're SOL.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810991)

It's not just BT, they all did it. Cabletel (before NTL (before Virgin)) ran fibre throughout their areas except the run from the RSB to your house, a mere few metres. This isn't a problem in reality, electrons still travel significantly faster than networking. The problem is in the electronics that were installed 15 years ago, they're simply not fast enough to handle high seed networking we can have today. Change those boards, and the UK's networking limits will be brought up to date. There is no need to replace the cable runs where fibre is already down.

Re:That's great and all (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43811217)

s/BT/every ISP in the western world/g

Re:That's great and all (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43813079)

Well as a share holder why should my company do this only to let Sky etc freeload off my investment FTC is really all that a home user needs anyway.

Re:That's great and all (1)

remus.cursaru (1423703) | about a year ago | (#43810233)

Sorry for you, Joe Blow, but you live in the wrong country: in Romania [rcs-rds.ro] you get FTTB - Cat 5 in your house with 100Mbps for just unde 12$/month. Of course, you can allways go cheap and pay just unde 9$/month for 50Mbps. You may start weeping now.

Re:That's great and all (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43810321)

Sorry for you, Joe Blow, but you live in the wrong country: in Romania [rcs-rds.ro] you get FTTB - Cat 5 in your house with 100Mbps for just unde 12$/month. Of course, you can allways go cheap and pay just unde 9$/month for 50Mbps. You may start weeping now.

80Mbps vDSL is widely available in the UK.. prices below £10/month if you're willing to go with cheap crappy ISPs who are on record saying they have no interest in planning for the future (plusnet).

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810529)

Isn't plusnet owned by BT?

Re:That's great and all (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | about a year ago | (#43810719)

Yes, they used to be a great ISP, now they are just a good enough but cheap ISP.

Personally I think BT use them like a shield against small ISPs from getting too big, everytime a small company starts making inroads, Plusnet seem to have a better offer which they can afford because although they present that small ISP image they have BT's wallet to back them up.

That leaves BT free to compete against the likes of Virgin and Sky on bundled features rather than price.

Re:That's great and all (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about a year ago | (#43811165)

Yes, they used to be a great ISP, now they are just a good enough but cheap ISP. Personally I think BT use them like a shield against small ISPs from getting too big, everytime a small company starts making inroads, Plusnet seem to have a better offer which they can afford because although they present that small ISP image they have BT's wallet to back them up. That leaves BT free to compete against the likes of Virgin and Sky on bundled features rather than price.

Such practices shouldn't be allowed, as they must surely count as being anti-competitive.

Re:That's great and all (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43810767)

Yes, they're owned by BT Group.

Re:That's great and all (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | about a year ago | (#43810687)

VDSL is sketchy though. And you left out their "line rental" charge which for some reason they leave out of their advertised price (14.50 GBP).

Re:That's great and all (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43810733)

VDSL is sketchy though. And you left out their "line rental" charge which for some reason they leave out of their advertised price (14.50 GBP).

Well yes, ok - you have to pay for a POTS line to go with it (which is annoying - if I didn't have to pay for POTS I wouldn't bother having it; my whole home phone system runs off an Asterisk server anyway). But that's the same for all the DSL based services in the UK.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810497)

...or Ukraine, where I get 1GB both ways for $18/month.

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810621)

but the deal breaker is you live in Romania. I have met several Romanians where I live and all of them are glad to be out of there.

just saying...

Re:That's great and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810271)

It might not increase your service speeds, because of the last mile problem, but it might reduce the contention ratio, giving you that speed even at peak usage times.

Re:That's great and all (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43810305)

But when will they upgrade my 4Mbps down / 256Kbps up DSL connection that I pay through the nose per month for? Cuz really, I keep reading about those marvelous link speeds but in the past 10 years, I haven't seen much of that reach the average Joe Blow internet user like me...

Where abouts are you? Most people can get way more than that (I'm on 8Mbps down / 1MBps up; if I turned on Annex M I'd get more upstream, and if I could be bothered I could switch to FTTC (80Mbps down, 20 up) for only about a pound a month more...) Also, British internet prices aren't exactly "through the nose" - especially if your local loop is crap (if you're never going to get a decent throughput on the local loop you may as well go for a cheap ISP).

Re:That's great and all (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#43810377)

Heh, my fibre upgrade means I pay about £2 less a month with a six fold speed increase than before...

Re:That's great and all (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about a year ago | (#43810401)

Hmmm, here it's a 5€ increase for a six fold speed increase, but I found that acceptable.

Re:That's great and all (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | about a year ago | (#43810329)

I take it you don't have access to BT's FTTC?

Re:That's great and all (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43810775)

Half of Cambridge doesn't even have access to BT's FTTC...

Re:That's great and all (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43810335)

This is for backbone, not home use. Jeez. Even if you went to the internet company's office and tapped directly into their 10Gb connection, you won't get anywhere near that speed because the other side of the link isn't nearly that fast.

Re:That's great and all (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#43810357)

The A does stand for asymmetric, but that ratio is way off. The only reason your upstream rate should be so low is if you're on rate adaptive, which wouldn't get you your downstream rate. The only thing I can think of is a misconfiguration on your line, and you should complain about it to Broadband Services on their specific number as the general helpline can't do anything about it.

Re:That's great and all (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about a year ago | (#43810363)

Last Mile - Owned by BT and mostly very low quality copper

BT will not invest because they have to give access to anyone at below rock bottom prices and might on the whims of the government get it taken away from them at any time

No-one else will invest because they can just hive off BT, the only exception is Cable, which is almost all one company...and so they have no reason to invest further either ...

Re:That's great and all (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43811095)

And yet they're currently doubling everyone's speed.

Re:That's great and all (1)

theid0 (813603) | about a year ago | (#43810387)

If you were in the UK and your last mile only supported that speed, you might as well go with a cheap ISP.
http://www.uswitch.com/broadband [uswitch.com]
But Joe Blow internet user probably lives in an area covered by FTTC (i.e. BT Infinity) and could get 40 Mbps minimum.

Re:That's great and all (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about a year ago | (#43810571)

I live in a UK village which recently got upgraded to a 21C exchange and I'm getting 1.5 megabytes a second down now. Up/down speed doubled overnight for the same price. They're getting there.

Re:That's great and all (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#43810607)

Fast broadband speeds not guaranteed by living in city centre. Research shows slowest area in London includes Barbican, next door to the City of London, while fastest is Charlton in Greenwich via http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/27/fast-broadband-speeds-city-centre [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Incompetence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811093)

I worked for these guys once. They bought my company and destroyed it. BT is one of the most incompetent companies I have ever seen. They hide behind regulation as an excuse for running aground at every turn, but the head of security argued that we had to use Telnet instead of SSH because Telnet was more secure. Compared to BT bureaucracy, the U.S. congress is a well oiled machine. It can take a over a month to get a port opened on a firewall ... If it's approved, which seldom happens on the first try. I could go on for day with funny stories of sheer stupidity taken to enormous excess.

Re:That's great and all (1)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year ago | (#43813801)

50Mbps DSL gear is readily available now. Still plenty of room on copper pipes; no need for fiber. I've found the best solution to lazy incumbent former-monopoly service providers is to not use them for that service. We get our cable tv from what used to be the big telco, and our internet and phone from what used to be the cable tv company.

GBps != Gbps (5, Informative)

luminate (318382) | about a year ago | (#43810143)

Might want to change the title...

Re:GBps != Gbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810171)

"Heck, we don't know the difference... do you expect the reader to?" - Slashdot editors

Re:GBps != Gbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810227)

They should change the content too : it is 10Gbps according to the article, not 10GBps.

Re:GBps != Gbps (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43811035)

Wait, shouldn't it be UKbps?

Great news for folks in Provo, UT (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43810145)

800 Gbps fiber to the home, here we come!

Just kidding. But still... These high bandwidth innovations are going to have a stunning impact on some companies deeply invested in expensive transnational data transport. It's time to put away the notion of precious gigabits forever.

Re:Great news for folks in Provo, UT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810325)

Sssshhhhh!!!!
Don't let the people know that transmitting their data over the internet is getting really cheap. Let them keep eating cake!

Re:Great news for folks in Provo, UT (2, Interesting)

whois (27479) | about a year ago | (#43810421)

For what it's worth, it's not providing any more bandwidth than the old technique, which had 80 channels at 10Gbps each. What it's doing is, instead of saying I have 80 channels, each of them needs to be clean in order to pass 10Gbps, it's saying I have these big channels which are noisy, but we have ways to mitigate that. Once all our mitigation is done you can expect 800Gbps (that may or may not be with error correction/other overhead factored in. Depends on the marketing department I suppose, but usually with fiber they give max achievable throughput)

The advantage in running unchannelized is on each 10Gbps channel they were holding extra bandwidth in reserve for error correction/overhead. With this you get the whole thing and your error correction is done on the aggregate, with less probable overhead and such.

Re:Great news for folks in Provo, UT (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43810689)

No. That is not what this is.

Re:Great news for folks in Provo, UT (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43811001)

You:

For what it's worth, it's not providing any more bandwidth than the old technique, which had 80 channels at 10Gbps each.

Post:

which was not able to carry 10Gbps channels using older technology

Re:Great news for folks in Provo, UT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813651)

This trial used 4 100Gbps channels and 2 200Gbps channels, all on a 50 GHz grid (rates are for actual traffic, the actual line rate is higher to accommodate overhead). This cable could actually carry more than 800Gbps if you filled out more channels. The key takeaway from this trial though is the 2 200G channels which were an industry first.

As for EC/overhead, this has nothing to do with that. 10Gbps channels are post overhead as are the 100/200Gbps channels. This is more to do with spectral efficiency. In this case squeezing 800Gbps of traffic into 300 GHz of spectrum.

Fibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810371)

^^ BT exists in England

Re:Fibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810513)

No... BT exists in the United Kingdom you ignorant person... England is just the scabby bit at the bottom... You still have Wales, Northern Ireland, and for the minute Scotland, which has to endure the sorry excuse that is BT...

Re:Fibre (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#43810787)

Even assuming that Mr. Salmond manages to win his referendum (a highly unlikely scenario), BT will still own and operate all the telecoms infrastructure in Scotland that it does today.

Invest (3, Informative)

Wowsers (1151731) | about a year ago | (#43810449)

That's BT for you, instead of investing in the network, they flog the life out of the old crap they have to avoid investing in the network, and give more money to shareholders.

Re:Invest (2)

Snospar (638389) | about a year ago | (#43810721)

This is BT investing in the network and it's a smart investment too. By upgrading the boxes on the end of the old fibre they've shown they can breath new life into it - something which was in doubt when the previous technology ran into problems. These boxes and associated optics are not cheap but it's much better to be spending money there than on a new programme to dig up the roads.

Re:Invest (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43811015)

FTTH is almost always cheaper, it just requires a bit more up-front, but it only takes a few years to pay it off.

The only reason companies don't do FTTH is because it makes for a bad quarter report compared to less capital intensive upgrades of old-copper that allows the ISP to charge more and increase revenue.

Re:Invest (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | about a year ago | (#43810725)

That can go the wrong way too though. In Germany the former state phone company decided to invest billions to get ISDN in every corner of the country, only to find that the speed was obsolete almost as soon as it came into service.

Re:Invest (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | about a year ago | (#43810745)

Oh, and as a "bonus" for this tremendous foresight DSL speeds are consistently 30% slower so that some people can still use their late 90s phones and fax machines. For a 25 mbps line that's a trade-off of 8mbps for a 64kbps phone and fax line which no-one uses.

Re:Invest (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43811101)

BT did that as well and then dragged their feet over implementing ADSL until eventually they were forced to do it.

Re:Invest (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43810751)

That's BT for you, instead of investing in the network, they flog the life out of the old crap they have to avoid investing in the network, and give more money to shareholders.

That's an insane attitude, what better investment is there than making the existing infrastructure 100 times more efficient? Why would you dig up the roads for no reason?

Re:Invest (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43813163)

You think its cheap to do that though our senior network guy a telecom gold back in the day (early 80's) said when we complained that the 10Mbs link between London bridge and staples corner said "Don't knock it I had I had oxford street dug up for that"

Re:Invest (1)

Person147 (1924818) | about a year ago | (#43810931)

That's BT for you, instead of investing in the network, they flog the life out of the old crap they have to avoid investing in the network, and give more money to shareholders.

Erm, isn't that the point of companies, to return profit to their owners? Privately held companies are sometimes run for other reasons of course, but publicly held ones, that is kinda their raison d'être, right?

Re:Invest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811039)

But this IS a good thing, the fiber doesn't need upgraded, it handles all of that fine.
The hardware is the bottleneck for optics connections.

Re:Invest (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43811111)

instead of investing in the network, they flog the life out of the old crap they have to avoid investing in the network

Because the smart thing to do would be to rip up thousands of miles of fiber that can carry 800Gbps and replace it all with thousands of miles of fiber that can carry 800Gbps. :can't tell if kidding or IBEW:

Karachi Photographer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810643)

The Best Photography in karachi, and very nice Photos, Videos, and very good envoirment I am so happy
Karachi Photographer [alishastudio.com]

BT is the reason UK has crap broadband (2)

coder111 (912060) | about a year ago | (#43810789)

They are the only ones that can lay fiber and invest into last mile, and they stubbornly refuse to do that.

I hate them so much for it. UK is falling further and further behind the rest of the world, it's just ridiculous.

--Coder

Re:BT is the reason UK has crap broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811141)

So Virgin have nothing to do with all those miles of cable they laid... /facepalm

Re:BT is the reason UK has crap broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811255)

Sure, apart from Virgin laying cable to every door. OH WAIT.

Re:BT is the reason UK has crap broadband (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year ago | (#43811793)

Sure, apart from Virgin laying cable to every door. OH WAIT.

They didn't lay cable to every door; Virgin have never sought to provide a universal service. But they did lay cable to mine, and my service is now good enough that the bottleneck is often elsewhere (e.g., at the web server end). Life is sometimes rather good...

Myopic Comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810877)

So BT create an elegant method to get better utilisation out of existing infrastructure and most of the posts here are a spat over who has the fastest internet access. I take my hat off to the engineers who have worked on this, nice job. It is good to see people working on practical solutions within tight constraints and getting results. A world away from the /. crowd moaning about the limitations of what they can passively consume.

Glass is glass.. (4, Insightful)

Annorax (242484) | about a year ago | (#43810927)

No news here people. The fact that existing fiber optic cable can be reused with new terminating equipment to increase transmission speed is not anything new.

MCI was doing this throughout the 1990s.

The inherent properties of the fiber optic cable have always meant that their potential "max speed" was much higher than the current terminating equipment of the time.

This is as interesting as someone saying "Hey, I bought a new sports car and drove it faster on this old road today than I did on my motor scooter yesterday!"

Re:Glass is glass.. (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#43811277)

Not to disagree with you, but I assumed that:

"BT ran the test on a fiber with optical characteristics (high polarization mode dispersion) that made it unsuitable for 10GBps using current techniques"

was an implication that glass is not just glass, and that you use this or that glass for this or that feature. Are you saying there's no fiber, no matter how old or which characteristics is has, which cannot run that this (or any future) speed?

Re:Glass is glass.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811635)

Yes and no.

Obviously the glass does ultimately matter, good quality glass has a higher maximum potential throughput. But there's a huge difference between the potential and actual throughput.

Check out the 802.3 series. If you put some phone cables in the walls in the 1980s before you even heard of the Internet, and supposing that they weren't ridiculously crappy or far too long, there's an excellent chance that 100Mbps Ethernet works on those cables, and even a fair chance that 1Gbps Ethernet works. Were you buying Gigabit cables in the 1980s? No, but the cables are dumb and the technology at each end has improved massively. BT didn't run special ADSL cables to everybody's house, they had shitty phone cables hanging from poles or buried in the ground, but technology improved and we got as much as 20Mbit/s DSL over those same cables that used to deliver a single 20kHz voice channel.

Or check Powerline. Nobody ever intended to move ANY data over the power cables in your house when they were installed. But put some technology at each end and you've got hundreds of megabits of bandwidth.

So, it's not a surprise when some glass that notionally isn't "good enough" for a new higher bandwidth technology actually turns out to be able to support the higher bandwidth by spending some money on the endpoints, this is indeed totally to be expected which is presumably why BT tried it at all.

Now, over long distances there used to be a problem because the "amplifier" in an optical system was actually a re-encoder. Light goes in, the signal gets regenerated, and more light is sent carrying the new, regenerated signal. Works for a really long distance (degradation is undone by each amplifier) but if you change the signals then it doesn't work. But decades ago my old university invented Erbium Doped Optical Amplifiers, as used in most long distance fibre systems today and for this project too, those amplify any light without regenerating the signal, so they're "dumb" and don't need to be expensively replaced to use a better technology at each end of the fibre.

Re:Glass is glass.. (4, Informative)

Shatrat (855151) | about a year ago | (#43811829)

It's heartbreaking to see how little the average slashdotter actually knows about technology when they start talking about my field.

First, optical amplifiers are not 're-encoders' which isn't a real term anyway, the closest thing to what you mean is a 'transponder' and those are only used at end-points. The two types of optical amplifiers are Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers and Raman effect amplifiers. They do not receive and retransmit, they literally add photons of the exact same wavelength and polarity as the original signal, with no interruption.

This article is ultimately about how the new coherent DSP enabled 100G and beyond fiber optic gear is actually much more tolerant of noise, chromatic dispersion, and polarization mode dispersion than the previous 10G on-off keyed gear. That allows carriers to go back and use fiber types that we used years ago that are obsolete, such as Zero Dispersion Shifted fiber.

Yes, technology always offers improvements, but this is not an incremental improvement. This is a huge leap forward.

Re:Glass is glass.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813063)

If you had actually READ my comment you wouldn't have needed to waste your time "correcting" a bunch of stuff I didn't write. So where appropriate I will repeat myself for emphasis below. You still won't read it properly, but it will ensure you look like even more of an idiot which seems deserved.

I wrote that "there used to be a problem" and that optical amplifiers fix that problem and then you've wasted like two paragraphs on explaining stuff nobody cares about in this context. There was actually a time before optical amplifiers, evidently a period imponderable to you (I'm guessing you're maybe 20-something?) because you've never heard of it. Back then (yes, before now, not actually now, don't waste your time writing a long screed about his this isn't true now, because I know that, I'm talking about how things used to be, before now, not now. Not now, right?) the only thing you could do to extend the range of a fibre was to put in a device that turned the signal from light into electricity, and then generate a new signal. Remember, we're not talking about now, not NOW, we are not talking about right now, but about the era of the first optical fibres, which back then were being used to move telephone calls. These used regenerative amplifiers. Every few dozen kilometers the entire signal is decoded, ECC is applied in some cases, and then it's re-encoded and re-transmitted using local lasers. This makes upgrading the system effectively impossible, because the signal coding is baked into equipment that's buried or in some cases at the bottom of an ocean and if you're going to dig everything up you might as well deploy new fibre. So optical amplifiers which you're taking for granted are an INVENTION that was once NEW (I knew some of the people responsible) and have made this sort of upgrade possible at all. That is all.

Also, this is the very definition of an incremental change, that you don't grasp that is why we end up with scientists and engineers authorising bullshit "this changes everything" press releases for yet another small incremental improvement like this, resulting in science fatigue where news consumers have no idea when some actual earth-shattering thing happens because breathless "Wow, nothing will ever be the same" reporting has been used up on "Last year we made things slightly better and this year... we made things even a bit better than that". Stop it.

Re:Glass is glass.. (1)

jroc242 (1397083) | about a year ago | (#43811333)

We did the same thing with our dark fiber ring between our offices. We use Ciena cards for DWDM. It used to be 1G circuits, now we install 10G circuits. Soon we will be putting in some 40G cards which will give us 40G circuits, no digging in manholes.

Now if I can get Verizon Fios... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43811181)

To give me that kind of speed, I'd be happy. ;-)

Upgrading 120 sites with ADSL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811273)

I'm just mid way through upgrading 120 sites from ADSL 8mb to ADSL 24mb with BT.
Most will go up by about 0.5 or 1mb, a few lucky ones will go up by at least 6-10mb. The highest i think will be 22.5mb.
However most of the sites are capable of FTTC of 25-75mb so we're doing that instead!

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811345)

Where I live, the local incumbent cable company took $60 million from the taxpayers on the promise of rolling out 24mbit cable to 100% of the residents of our city. Yet, they lied and did not put plant into any street or subdivision with underground utilities, yet still reported to the federal government that they had.

Criminals.

BT stands for... (1)

snsh (968808) | about a year ago | (#43812555)

Am I the only slashdotter who sees "BT" and immediately thinks it's about bittorrent?

Download a copy of the Man of Steel screener in a single millisecond. Yay !!

Stop crying (1)

Highland Deck Box (2786087) | about a year ago | (#43813589)

"Oh waaah I live up a country lane that's 10 miles away from the nearest house and I can't get fibre optic, woe is me" If you want good broadband move to a city. I live in Bristol and i'm pretty happy with my BT Infinity service, I get about 75 down/25 up unlimited for like £25 a month.

Re:Stop crying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43814959)

You sir, are a douche.

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