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Vodafone and Nokia showcase 100 Gigabit Next Generation Broadband Network

4 minute read
  • Vodafone and Nokia record speeds of 100 gigabits-per-second in test of a new broadband network technology.
  • 100 Gbps Passive Optical Network (PON) will power next generation cable and fibre broadband connections from 2030.
  • 10 times faster than today’s multi-gigabit networks, supporting new immersive services and making sure customers never run out of broadband bandwidth.

Imagine as a Vodafone customer being able to touch an object over the internet, share a meal with a 3D-holographic family member or even transmit the smell of a bunch of roses.

Vodafone has already demonstrated both a holographic call and the ability to feel a rugby tackle over 5G, and now it has teamed up with Nokia to successfully test a new network technology, running at the blistering speed of 100 gigabits-per-second (Gbps), which could pave the way for ‘teleportation over the Internet’ applications.

vf lab 100gb 001

At a speed of 100 Gbps, researchers can feasibly imagine futuristic ‘virtual teleportation’ and 3D holographic applications that combine human senses to aid healthcare, education, retail and leisure activities. 100 Gbps is at least ten times faster than the most advanced fixed networks of this type in Europe today and is the equivalent of streaming 4,000 ultra-high definition videos into your home at the same time without lag or buffering.

Vodafone and Nokia engineers achieved the technological breakthrough using only a single optical wavelength - a beam of light used to transmit vast amounts of data - to record a top data speed of 100 Gbps. The test was carried out at Vodafone’s Eschborn lab in Germany using equipment based on a new flexible Passive Optical Network (PON) technology. A PON is a fibre network that connects key structures like mobile masts, schools, factories, hospitals and businesses to the internet as well as home broadband services.

While 100 Gbps PON tested at Eschborn is likely to become available later this decade, Vodafone is already installing 10 Gbps PON links within its Next Generation Networks (NGN) fixed-line infrastructure. These are capable of supporting the growing capacity demands of ultra-high definition Internet streaming services, typically requiring around 25 Mbps, as well as the most bandwidth hungry augmented and virtual reality services running at between 200 Mbps and 300 Mbps.

The technology is also based on a modular architecture, meaning that Vodafone can significantly upgrade the speeds of today’s fibre and cable broadband networks when required without the need to dig up roads or drill holes through a customers’ home.

Johan Wibergh, Vodafone Chief Technology Officer, said: “Today’s technological breakthrough supports Vodafone’s strategy to prepare our African and European networks to meet the inevitable growth in demand for faster, more responsive and immersive Internet services. We continue to focus on the current needs of customers like extending broadband to rural communities, supporting working and learning from home, and equipping smart factories, all while keeping an eye on the future.”

Vodafone’s European network now passes around 140 million homes across 12 markets through a mix of Vodafone owned NGN network (55 million homes, of which 39 million are Gigabit-capable), strategic partnerships (22 million homes) and wholesale arrangements (62 million homes). This network provides Vodafone with the largest marketable footprint of any fixed-line provider in Europe.

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