What do you get when you mix a motivated major content player, the latest gear, and the most recently constructed transatlantic fiberoptic cable? A new record of course. Nokia and Facebook have successfully trialed some new technology, achieving a spectral efficiency of 7.46 b/s/Hz over 5500 kilometers.
The trials took place over Facebook's part of the the new AEConnect system that connects the USA and northwest Ireland via about 5,500km of fiber. They used Nokia Bell Labs' probabilistic constellation shaping technology and shaped 64-QAM, achieving a boost of 2.5 times the total stated capacity of the system. On the round trip journey of 11,000km they managed spectral efficiency of 5.68 b/s/Hz.
That means that what is now said to be 13Tbps on Facebook's cable segment can now become 32Tbps. Or, at least it could be in a few years when the technology becomes commercially available.
The electronics available to submarine cable systems continue to advance, squeezing more and more capacity out of cables. For over a decade that meant that we saw no new cable systems built, as the industry digested the huge amounts of bandwidth already in place. But we've seen two new cables in the last year or two, and another is underway. I'm curious to hear how well Nokia's new technology performs on the older systems that still carry much of the world's data across the oceans.