DLR and ADVA set new world record for optical free-space data transmission

Satellite laser communications trial using ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect™ key step to closing digital divide

ADVA (FSE: ADV) today announced that, together with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR), it has set a new data transmission record for free-space laser communications. The trial, which emulated a ground to a geostationary satellite link, succeeded in transmitting 13.16Tbit/s of data over a distance of 10.45km – a vital step towards delivering high-speed broadband to rural and underdeveloped areas. The ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect™ platform was crucial to the trial, transporting huge amounts of data and managing extreme levels of atmospheric turbulence. DLR developed the free-space terminal technology that coupled a fast varying, distorted wavefront into a fiber with a cross-section smaller than a human hair. The record-breaking trial is key to DLR’s aim of enabling broadband coverage based on affordable satellite links.

“This trial is a significant milestone in the evolution of stable, high-speed communication via satellite. It’s showing the industry that multi-Terabits of data can be transported every second via satellites using free-space laser communications,” said Christoph Günther, director, DLR Institute of Communications and Navigation. “One of our core aims is helping to achieve global connectivity and this test is a big part of realizing that goal. Through a lot of close collaboration between the DLR and ADVA teams, we’ve been able to demonstrate that this approach is not only feasible but that it’s ready to be used to transmit the enormous amounts of data needed for tomorrow’s users. Setting this benchmark brings high-speed broadband for everyone a step closer to reality.”

This trial shows the full potential of free-space laser links to transform communications across the globe. We’re proud that our FSP 3000 CloudConnect™ is making it possible Jörg-Peter Elbers, SVP, advanced technology, ADVA

The demonstration involved a laser connection between a ground station in Weilheim, Germany, and a mock satellite more than 10km away on the mountain Hohenpeißenberg. The distance and speed both break new ground with the figure of 13.16Tbit/s nearly eight times the DLR’s previous record. At this data rate, all printed books in the world could be transmitted in about half a minute. The feat was made possible by ADVA’s technology including its QuadFlex™ line cards. These support high-order coherent modulation schemes and enabled each wavelength to carry 200Gbit/s payload data using dual-polarization 16QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) and strong soft-decision forward error correction. Atmospheric turbulence in the terrestrial link was equivalent to that experienced in a worst-case scenario between ground and geostationary satellites.

“Together with the DLR team, we’re helping shape the future of connectivity. This trial shows the full potential of free-space laser links to transform communications across the globe. We’re proud that our FSP 3000 CloudConnect™ is making it possible,” commented Jörg-Peter Elbers, SVP, advanced technology, ADVA. “Throughout the tests, the stability of the connection was vital. Even short interruptions of only milliseconds mean Gigabits of lost data. Thankfully, our FSP 3000 CloudConnect™ is one of the most resilient platforms on the market. This trial is about delivering the transformative power of the internet to communities and countries that need it most. By enabling affordable, reliable broadband via satellite at speeds that make a difference, we really are helping to close the digital divide.”

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