Rogers upgrades transport network to 400G ZR+ with Ribbon

optical fiber
The operator joins a small but growing number of players pursing 400G ZR+ pluggable technology. (Getty Images)

Canadian operator Rogers Communications tapped Ribbon Communications to help it upgrade its optical transport network, selecting the latter to supply 400G ZR+ technology.

The capabilities will be delivered via Ribbon’s Apollo optical networking platform, with Rogers also opting to deploy the vendor’s MUSE software-defined networking domain orchestrator. Ribbon said in a press release the deployment will make Rogers one of the first tier-one operators in North America to rollout dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) 400G ZR+.

Sam Bucci, EVP and GM of Ribbon's IP Optical Networks Business Unit, said in a statement the move will help Rogers “future-proof their network and extend their leadership in 5G services deployment across Canada."

Rogers SVP of Access Networks and Operations Kye Prigg added Ribbon’s technology “will help us continue to maximize the efficiency and performance of our network.”

The operator joins a small but growing number of service providers pursing 400G ZR+ pluggable technology. In May, U.K. operator Colt Technology Services announced it would deploy Cisco subsidiary Acacia’s take on the technology as part of an overhaul of its global IQ Packet Network. In February, the wholesale division of U.S. operator Windstream set a distance record in a 400G ZR+ trial and said it would begin deploying ZR+ pluggables in the second half of 2021.

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In comments provided for the Rogers release, Omdia Transport and Components Practice Leader Ian Redpath explained why the technology is gaining steam: "When compared to existing embedded solutions, 400G ZR+ is an innovative technology that offers numerous benefits, including lowering the cost per bit, reducing power consumption and simplifying network sparing."

Cisco previously argued ZR and ZR+ technology will enable a complete overhaul of optical network architecture, allowing the IP and optical layers to be collapsed into a single plane. But others, including Ribbon and Nokia, have a more limited vision of just how far this convergence will extend. The latter recently told Fierce ZR and ZR+ pluggables may be able to help simplify the architecture of metro and regional networks but argued convergence over long-haul routes would be impractical.