Colt completes next-generation 400G Wave testing in live network trial

Since the launch of its IQ Network in 2016, Colt has continued to drive innovation in next-generation optical networking via an extensive programme of investment, testing and deployment of leading-edge technologies. From its inception, at the time when fixed-grid 100G transponders were commonplace, Colt’s IQ Network employed Flexible Grid technology. When the first generation of higher line rate transponders emerged, Colt was one of the first network service providers to be able to leverage the technology across its global footprint. Now, Flexible Grid optical technology is a key building block for 400G services and, in the near future, upcoming higher-rate client services.

To date, 400G connectivity has mostly been utilised within the data centre environment, however as global working patterns change and major businesses look to shore up their cloud backbones, ultra-high bandwidth connectivity is going to become a necessity.

In a step towards bringing these next-generation services to market, we are pleased to share that Colt has successfully tested the provisioning of 400G Wave services via the Colt IQ Network – meaning it will soon be possible to deliver 400G connectivity at scale for Colt customers.

Trials were conducted across Colt’s production network between two data centre campuses, involving a number of practical scenarios and incorporating a number of different ROADM node types and fibre specifications across the test route. For traffic source and service analysis, both physical 400GbE testers and 400GbE interface-equipped packet devices were utilised. Tests were conducted both within the metro area network (MAN) of over a distance of approximately 50km,  and also over long-haul links of around 800km, and utilising various different configurations supported by the range of optical transponders tested.

Even though single wave line-side operation under these conditions was possible up to 600G, dual wave pairing was also successfully verified. This was achieved whilst leaving plenty of OSNR margin, delivering a high degree of confidence that much greater distances will also be achievable. This extensive interoperability testing programme was conducted by a number of Colt’s in-house network professionals in close collaboration with four partners – Ciena, Cisco, Adva and Infinera over a period of two months.

This year we have seen the immense value of connectivity – with many customers choosing to increase backbone capacity as global working practices have rapidly evolved. There is a clear need for continued transformation of connectivity solutions, with demand for more services at even higher bandwidth levels remaining strong. To deliver this cost effectively, a Flexible Grid optical network down to each endpoint is crucial.

The Colt IQ Network was built to support this change. 2020 marks three years of the Colt IQ Network, and today it is made up of more than 29,000 on net buildings and 900 data centres globally. Our team of technical experts are continually innovating to ensure the Colt IQ Network continues to break new barriers, and remains a top choice to power our customer’s business growth into the future. We see this successful optical testing as another milestone in our journey, and we’re excited for what a high bandwidth future will hold.

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