The telecoms industry is developing a new generation of flexible, high-bandwidth networks to support researchers, educators, government bodies and innovators. There have been multiple generational technology leaps and developments over the past 24 months that are equipping R&E networks with new functionality and flexibility. 100G networks are opening the doors to a wide range of applications, from healthcare to carbon-free computing and new energy sources, and from traffic congestion to ocean resources management. The R&E community has a growing requirement for more bandwidth to support its e-science and research activities, making 40/100G a fundamental requirement for the development of such initiatives and for near future network infrastructure deployments. The characteristics and impairments found in optical fibres become critical and difficult to overcome, however, when one attempts to migrate from 10Gbps to 40G or 100G. Yet through novel techniques and new technologies these impairments can be overcome.