Alcatel-Lucent Accelerates 100G Network Traffic

Not all 100 gigabit optical connections are the same.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Dec 7, 2011
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In June of 2010, Alcatel-Lucent debuted 100 gigabit per second network equipment for service providers. Now, after over a year of field use, Alcatel-Lucent is enhancing their 100G portfolio with new technology that makes 100G transmissions more reliable while, literally, extending performance.

Kevin Drury, director of Product Marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's optics portfolio explained that the new 100G Extended Reach (XR) card for the 1830 Photonic Service Switch, will deliver 30 percent greater reach for 100G connections. That means that 100G can potentially be transported distances of 2,000km or more without the need for electrical regeneration.

"Whenever you are transmitting light over distance it starts to fade and as it goes over the fiber there are all kinds of impairments that impact the performance and reach of the light path or wave length pulse," Drury said. "With the introduction of the extended performance offer we'll be able to tackle more complex use cases."

Another challenge facing service providers is the fact that fiber in the ground can be of mixed quality. Some of it can be noisy and not as optimal as other lengths. With the new Alcatel-Lucent solution, they are now able to address routes that have pretty bad fiber characteristics.

Geographical considerations are also part of the new extended reach solution. Drury noted that it's not always possible to have evenly spaced drop sites, which can make for uneven amplification.

"Extended performance expands the addressable deployment scenarios and it can help make 100G more ubiquitous," Drury said.

From a deployment perspective there are two types of 100G XR cards. There is a 100G client that is then mapped to a 100G wavelength. Then there is a 10 port card that can use 10G inputs that can then be aggregated and mapped to a 100G wavelength. The XR cards can run at under 200 watts each, delivering price for performance of 0.2 watts per gigabit of bandwidth.

Since 100G is running over the same fiber that is already in the ground, the 100G XR solution can potentially enable a service provider to get a 10x improvement in capacity.

"Every single customer that has an existing 10G line, they are 100G ready today," Drury said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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