Comcast and Ciena have teamed up on a live field trial of a 1Terabit/sec (Tb/s) optical transmission spanning nearly 1,000Km.

By demonstrating the ability to increase the traffic carrying capacity by 2.5 times, this trial showed how Comcast’s existing fiber network can scale to keep pace with the bandwidth demands of cloud computing, video, and multimedia applications, as well as data center connectivity.

The 1Tb/s trial took earlier this month over Comcast’s existing long-haul fiber infrastructure connecting Ashburn, Va. to Charlotte, N.C. The two companies said the trial was believed to be the first in which live data traffic was carried over a 1Tb/s16QAM super-channel on an existing, commercial network. At the same time, that network was also carrying customer traffic over 10G, 40G and 100G wavelengths, all coexisting on a mix of flexible and 50GHz-spacedfixed grid channels.

The 1Tb/s trial used Ciena’s 6500 6500 Packet-Optical Platform that combined flexible grid Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADM) with 16QAM coherent modulation to achieve 5b/s/Hz of spectral efficiency over a distance of nearly 1,000 Km of uncompensated ELEAF fiber.

“We continue to work with Ciena to leverage our already installed Ciena 6500 platforms to deliver more content, faster Internet speeds and enable new cloud-based applications for our customers,” said Steve Surdam executive director, network engineering at Comcast. “As we look to continuously evolve our network infrastructure, Ciena’s high-capacity Terabit optical technology will give us the flexibility and scalability required to future proof our network to deliver next-generation products and services for our customers.”

The trial ran in parallel over the same optical infrastructure that supports a combination of HD video, Internet and voice traffic on Comcast’s existing 100G national backbone.

“Innovative service providers like Comcast know that they can rely on Ciena’s field-proven, industry-leading converged packet optical technology to keep pace with today’s surging bandwidth requirements. Our technology goes beyond scaling bandwidth to make the network more intelligent and responsive to service and application needs, which is the basis of Ciena’s OPn architecture approach and increasingly critical in today’s highly competitive environment,” said Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president, global products group at Ciena. “This trial is a significant accomplishment because it took place across a production network and demonstrated our ability to extend the scalability benefits of new coherent modulation techniques beyond metro and regional distances.”