Comcast gets into the 100G optical game

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) on Thursday became the latest service provider to upgrade its core network to 100G with Ciena's (Nasdaq: CIEN) coherent optical platforms.

For this network initiative, the cable operator is enhancing its deployment of Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform with its third-generation WaveLogic coherent optical line interfaces. One of the features of the WaveLogic technology is it allows service providers like Comcast to move to 400G when ready via software controllable interfaces.

"Adding Ciena's WaveLogic 3 to our already installed 6500 Packet-Optical Platforms lets us leverage that investment to deliver more content, faster Internet speeds and enable new cloud-based applications for our customers, while also providing future core 400G scalability " said Kevin McElearney, senior vice president, Network Engineering, at Comcast Cable, in a release announcing the new agreement with Ciena.

Like other cable MSOs, Comcast is in the midst of balancing the growth of multiple services and applications, including its consumer HDTV video services and Ethernet-based business services.

Similar to other deployments Ciena has conducted with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Sprint (NYSE: S), the other benefit of the 6500 platform is cost reduction. The advent of coherent optics and software controls will enable Comcast to reduce the number of network components, such as optical regenerators, it has to manage in its network.

Ciena and Comcast are hardly strangers. Since 2009, the cable MSO has been using the optical vendor's coherent 40G and 100G technologies across its national fiber network.

The vendor has also been a big part of Comcast's ongoing Metro Ethernet drive. In June 2011, the MSO deployed Ciena's Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery (CESD) platforms for its fiber-based Metro Ethernet service targeting medium and large businesses.

Although Ciena has worked with Comcast for a number of years, being able to announce this upgrade is an important milestone for the vendor as it battles the growing presence of its nearest 100G competitors, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN), both of which have been adding more Tier 1 service providers to their respective customer rosters.

For more:
- see the release

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