Sunday, 11 April 2021

Virgin Media trials new fibre tech with 400Gbps potential

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 03 March 21

By implementing the latest technology from Infinera, Virgin Media could theoretically deliver "400Gbps symmetrical services"

A new trial for Virgin Media, in which they are making use of new network equipment from Infinera, could allow them to send and receive data at up to 400Gbps on a single fibre.   The trial, which took place on Virgin Media’s network in Reading, involved replacing the existing transceivers with Infinera&rsquo…

A new trial for Virgin Media, in which they are making use of new network equipment from Infinera, could allow them to send and receive data at up to 400Gbps on a single fibre.
 
The trial, which took place on Virgin Media’s network in Reading, involved replacing the existing transceivers with Infinera’s XR Optics technology, which divides individual fibre cables into numerous connections, thereby drastically increasing capacity. In their press release, Virgin said that this technology “could deliver[…] 400Gbps symmetrical services”, allowing a single fibre to provide multi-gigabit speeds to many customers simultaneously, sharing this overall capacity.
 
It should be noted, however, that the release itself does not cite the speeds actually received by the end-user during this specific trial.
 
“The trial with Virgin Media provides a solid proof point that Infinera’s XR optics technology can be seamlessly applied to existing networks” said Dave Welch, Infinera’s Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder. “This represents a radical shift in the way networks can be built, promising a more flexible and sustainable way to meet the ever increasing need to transmit more data at higher speeds.”
 
This new trial builds on results achieved back in 2019, when Virgin trialled 10Gbps symmetric full fibre home broadband technology in Papworth, Cambridgeshire, achieving speeds of over 8Gbps for the end user. Currently, the highest speeds available on much of Virgin Media's network are roughly 600Mbps.
 
But change is on the way. Virgin Media have been hard at work upgrading their network to the DOCSIS 3.1 platform over the last year, which is in fact capable of delivering gigabit speeds to customers. Last September saw the operator push the upgraded technology to deliver 2.2Gbps at a trial in Berkshire. 
 
Virgin Media’s entire network of over 15 million premises due to be upgraded before the end of this year. 
 
 
What are the latest technology trends for the world of access network delivery and how are they changing operators’ strategies? Hear from the experts at this year’s Gigabit Access event 
 
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