Internet speeds are gradually improving across the globe, with average speeds in the UK now reaching 14.9Mbps – up from 13.9Mbps at the end of 2015. Sadly the UK is far from having the fastest broadband speeds however, with that honour belonging to South Korea – where the average speed stands at 29Mbps. In the latest trials performed by BT and Huawei in the UK, and Nokia and SK Broadband in South Korea however, even those speeds seem slow.

BT and Huawei trial 40Gbps broadband

In the UK, Openreach, BT’s local network business, partnered with Huawei to trial some of the fastest broadband speeds ever seen in Europe. According to the two companies, the partnership has managed to deliver 40Gbps fibre speeds.

The trial involved a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connection running between the University of Suffolk, Ipswich Exchange and BT’s R&D centre at Adastral Park. The network saw speeds of 40Gbps, 10Gbps and 2.5Gbps speeds delivered simultaneously over a single fibre optic cable.

It’s not uncommon to hear of broadband speeds eclipsing the 1Gbps mark in the UK – Hyperoptic and TalkTalk both offer such a package – but BT’s current FTTP technology only offers maximum speeds of up to 330Mbps. The company plans to change that soon, with areas of the UK set to be upgraded to speeds of 1Gbps

Typically, FTTP technology in the UK use a single fibre cable transmitting 2.5Gbps of capacity, which is then shared between customers. The latest trial in partnership with Huawei will change that however, with a much greater capacity of 40Gbps and 10Gbps being supported along the same fibre line.

BT says that the different technologies use separate wavelengths, meaning all three can operate on the same fibre network. This is designed to demonstrate not only how operators can flex to meet ultrafast speeds in the future, but also the latent capability of that network Openreach has already deployed.

The University of Suffolk has been using the service for the past two weeks allowing it the high bandwidths required for today’s demanding research. During the next phase of testing the University will use the high bandwidth for streaming lectures, designing games and delivering online courses – amongst other services.

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, notes: “Superfast speeds are now available to nine out of 10 homes and businesses and we’re taking fibre further. We’re also excited to be bringing the country ultrafast speeds.

“We’ll be taking ultrafast to up to 12 million UK premises by the end of 2020, and to the majority by 2025. But it’s also vital that we continue to look even further into the future, and prepare for increasing data consumption over our network. That’s what this trial is all about.

“The trial proves that not only is our FTTP network fit for the future, but with the right equipment in the customer’s home and at the exchange, we can tailor speeds to suit their individual requirements. So whether you’re a small business specialising in graphic design or a keen gamer using UHD and virtual reality, we’ll make sure your communications provider can offer you the speeds and value for money services that you need.

“I’m looking forward to discussing this technology breakthrough further with our communications providers to see how it could help shape their future plans.”

Jeff Wang, president of Huawei Access network, adds: “Huawei has been running an Innovation program with Openreach for many years and we are looking forward to continuing the partner relationship for the future. Huawei’s investment and innovation in both fibre and copper based technologies will help Openreach to deploy the ultrafast broadband to serve the UK public for many years to come and help achieve Openreach ambitions of passing 10 million homes with and up to a further 2 million homes with FTTP by 2020.”

Peter O’Rourke, director of IT at University of Suffolk, comments: “The University is proud to partner with industry and so welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Huawei and Openreach to demonstrate these exciting new technologies.”

South Korean apartment block gets connected to 52.5Gbps broadband

While BT’s capacity will lead to greater speeds than ever, South Korean broadband users will still boast the faster speeds – at least for now.

In the latest trial in the region, Nokia and SK Broadband have provided fibre access speeds reaching 52.5Gbps to a set of apartment buildings in Seoul.

SK Broadband has often rolled out high-speed fibre services to its customers – offering 2.5Gbps GPON technology in 2006, rolling-out 10Gbps internet services in 2014 and now prepping to offer speeds in excess of 50Gbps.

In conjunction with Nokia, SK Broadband is set to use its existing fibre network and access platform to boost speeds up to 52.5Gbps. To do so, SK Broadband is using multi-dwelling units from HFR and Nokia’s universal next generation PON solution, making it possible to aggregate different technology on the existing fibre line.

  • TWDM-PON with 40Gbps symmetrical
  • XGS-PON with 10Gbps symmetrical
  • GPON with 2.5Gbps

In addition to boosting speeds, universal next generation PON also brings the benefit of cost-efficient upgrades and operational efficiencies thanks to the wavelength mobility.

While 50Gbps speeds have been reached, the extra speed will be used to deliver capacity more than sheer speed to customers. SK Broadband says that as part of this latest generation of fibre access technologies it will be aiming to bring 10Gbps broadband to all its customers.

Yoo Ji-chang, head of SK Broadband’s Network Division, notes: “As a new era looms that demands Gigabit Internet, Ultra High Definition video and Virtual and Augmented Reality services, SK Broadband will establish a network infrastructure that provides the best customer value. Following the world’s first commercialization of an ADSL service and the two-pair LAN cable 500M service, we will establish a top-class optical Internet platform to create the best Gigabit broadband service environment for our customers.”

Federico Guillen, president of Nokia’s Fixed Networks Group, adds: “All eyes in the world are focused on South Korea as it moves ahead with rolling out ever-faster broadband networks. Nokia’s innovation edge and our portfolio of next generation fibre technologies help customers like SK Broadband realize the true Gigabit societies of the future.”

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