In Focus Magazine

What’s Nokia got to do with R&E Networks?

When hearing the Nokia name, many think of 1990s mobile handsets, and the iconic ringtone, Grande Valse. Yet Nokia’s been at the forefront of technological innovation for over 150 years. Originally a 19th century Finnish paper mill, Nokia branched into rubber products and electrical cables which eventually led to electronics and communications equipment. As networking technology evolved, so did Nokia through a series of acquisitions, including Alcatel-Lucent in 2015. This brought an impressive research capability to Nokia through Bell Labs, including nine Nobel prizes, three Turing prizes and thousands of annual patent applications. Today, Nokia provides innovative technology to service providers, governments, utilities, enterprises and Research & Education networks.

Research & Education networks have long been a proving ground for emerging networking technology. Many national R&E networks were the first to trial technologies such as IPv6, 100G core routing and  coherent optical detection, well before commercial service providers put these components into their production networks. Nokia Bell Labs research has contributed greatly to the evolution of these technologies
into systems, now deployed by all types of network operators, including global NRENs. Nokia’s 1830 PSS photonic switching system is built upon decades of learning and patented invention. Most recently, the  Photonic Service Engine (PSE) is the DSP at the core of Nokia’s optical transport systems power. The third generation, PSE-3, implements Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) to maximise capacity over any
distance and on any fiber — from metro to subsea. A concept pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs, PCS pushes optical performance towards the Shannon limit, the maximum possible information transfer rate.

Engineered with the only algorithm proven to approach the theoretical capacity limit of optical fiber, it combines the latest in electronics and software to offer performance never seen before.

Coherent transmission ordinarily uses all constellation points with the same frequency. PCS uses constellation points with high amplitude less frequently than those with lesser amplitude to transmit signals that are, on average, more resilient to noise and other impairments. This enables tailoring the transmission rate to the special optical channel delivering up to 30% greater reach while also significantly improves spectral efficiency. This technology allows networks to attain maximum capacity over practical, reallife optical spans. In February 2019, M-net (Germany) started to trial PCS, allowing them to exceed 500Gbps over existing optical spans. Further trials on production networks with Netia (Poland) and TIM (Italy) demonstrated the ability to maximise span reach and capacity with the 600Gbps-capable PSE-3. Future generations of PSE will utilise yet smaller silicon fabrication geometry, pushing spectral efficiency even closer to the Shannon limit.

PCS is but one innovation available to help R&E networks push existing research boundaries. Nokia’s unique technology set extends through optical transport to layer 2 and 3 switching and routing. Combining  OTN switching, GMPLS control plane, CDC-F ROADM, layer 2 switching and powerful IP/MPLS routing into a family of solutions, allows NRENs to deliver a wide set of resilient services to their institutional network users.

Find out more at:

Nokia Optical Networking

Nokia Photonic Service Engine 3

Skip to content