In detail: Tracking the 100G path

By Sean Buckley & Samantha Bookman

100G optical networksWhich providers have taken the leap and begun upgrading their networks to 100G? Last year saw a flurry of activity in this segment of the broadband market, particularly during the second half of 2011, as providers worldwide began upgrading parts of their network routes to be capable of 100G speeds.

Infonetics noted in a recent research report that providers are showing interest in using 40G and 100G in brownfield environments, but are leaning toward using 100G for greenfield builds.

The big winners, short-term, will likely be network vendors, particularly Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN). Alcatel-Lucent deployed its 100G systems with 23 carriers, while Ciena has 21 of the providers listed here. Other vendors rising up to the 100G challenge include ADVA (XETRA: ADV.DE), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), Fujitsu (OTC: FJTSY.PK) and Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN).

But the move to 100G is one whose time has come: Providers held off making such a large capital expenditure for the last couple of years due to a shaky global economy, but technology and demand have both grown to a point that they couldn't avoid an upgrade much longer. And rather than taking a perhaps less costly upgrade to 40G, many are bypassing that step and going straight to 100G.

The reemergence of coherent optics is another big factor in the move to 100G. Once pushed aside in favor of optical amplifiers, the ability of coherent optics to increase signal distance while reducing the need for amplification has helped give 100G a boost in the eyes of providers.

Updated: The chart below lists 48 service providers that are either actively upgrading their networks or trialing 100G. You may also be interested in our eBook, 100 Gbps Networks See the Light, which discusses technologies and strategies for migration to what's rapidly becoming the must-have network for providers.

100G Providers
Service Provider Vendor Region Carrier Type Date Deployed
360networks (now Zayo) Alcatel-Lucent U.S. Competitive wholesaler Nov. 2010
Allstream Ciena Canada Incumbent Nov. 2011
AT&T Ciena U.S. Incumbent Apr. 2010
Bouygues Alcatel-Lucent France Competitive carrier Nov. 2011
BSkyB Alcatel-Lucent UK Competitive carrier Jan. 2012
BT Ciena UK Incumbent Dec. 2011
Cablevision Argentina Alcatel-Lucent Argentina Cable MSO Dec. 2011
China Telecom Alcatel-Lucent China Incumbent
July 2011
Completel Alcatel-Lucent France Competitive provider May 2011
DC-NET Ciena Washington, D.C. Community provider Dec. 2011
DOE Ciena U.S. R&E network Oct. 2011
Eurotranstelecom Ciena Ukraine Competitive carrier Oct. 2011
FASTWEB NSN Italy Competitive broadband provider Oct. 2011
France Telecom/Orange Alcatel-Lucent France Incumbent Dec. 2011
Internet2 Ciena US R&E provider March 2011
Kazakhtelecom Alcatel-Lucent Kazakhstan Competitive provider Feb. 2011
KISTI Ciena Korea R&E network Oct. 2011
Lightower Ciena U.S. Competitive provider Jan. 2011
Maxis Alcatel-Lucent Malaysia Competitive provider Aug. 2011
Mobily Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena Saudi Arabia Wireless operator July 2011
MTS Alcatel-Lucent Russia Incumbent June 2011
New World Telecom Alcatel-Lucent Hong Kong Competitive provider July 2011
NORDUnet Alcatel-Lucent Denmark (Forskningsnettet), Finland (Funet), Iceland (RHnet), Norway (Uninett), Sweden R&D provider 2010
NTE Norway Alcatel-Lucent Norway Power company 2011
Oni Alcatel-Lucent Lisbon, Portugal; Badajoz, Spain Competitive provider Dec. 2011
ORION Alcatel-Lucent Ontario, Canada R&E network provider March 2011
Pacific Crossing Infinera (trial) Japan to California Submarine cable operator Oct. 2011
PCCW Ciena North Asia Incumbent Jan. 2012
P&TLuxembourg Alcatel-Lucent Frankfurt, Germany; Luxembourg, Netherlands Incumbent Sept. 2011
Portugal Telecom Alcatel-Lucent Lisbon and Oporto, Spain Incumbent Nov. 2010
Renater Ciena France R&E network Feb. 2011
RoEduNet Ciena Romania R&E network July 2011
Rostelecom Alcatel-Lucent Russia; Middle East Cable MSO Oct. 2011
SEA-WE-ME3 Ciena APAC, Europe, Africa, India Submarine Cable Feb. 2011
SFR Ciena France Competitive provider June 2011
Shaw Alcatel-Lucent Calgary, Alberta Canada Competitive provider Nov. 2011
Softbank Alcatel-Lucent Tokyo Incumbent June 2010
Southern Cross Ciena Australia, New Zealand, U.S. (west coast) Submarine cable provider Dec. 2011
SURFnet Ciena Netherlands R&E network May 2011
Telia Sonera AB Infinera (trial) Los Angeles and San Jose, Calif. Wireless operator May 2010
TelstraClear Ciena New Zealand Competitive provider July 2010
T-Mobile Czech Republic Alcatel-Lucent Czech Republic Competitive provider Sept. 2011
US Signal Cisco Chicago, Ill.; Kalamazoo, Mich. Incumbent Nov. 2011
Verizon  Ciena, Cisco U.S., European routes Competitive provider Nov. 2010
VERNet Ciena Victoria, Australia R&E network June 2011
VTN Ciena Vietnam Incumbent Oct. 2010
XO (trial) Infinera Denver, Colo.; Dallas, Texas Competitive provider
Sept. 2010
Ziggo Alcatel-Lucent Netherlands Cable MSO
May 2011
In detail: Tracking the 100G path