FierceTelecom 2010 Prediction: Forget 40 Gbps, I want 100 Gbps

Long haul optical and data transmission has come a long way since the former GTE (now Verizon) turned up one of the first optical links for interoffice trunks transmitting T1 (1.5 Mbps) speeds.  

Fast forward to 2010 and service providers are eyeing the move to 100 Gbps long haul optical network systems. And while industry pundits initially predicted that service providers would upgrade their respective 10 Gbps networks to 40 Gbps, activity by both Qwest and Verizon seem to be pointing northward to not just 40, but actually 100 Gbps.

Last summer, Qwest said they would upgrade their long haul and metro network to deliver 100 Gbps Ethernet capabilities to end customers. The service provider is leveraging Alcatel-Lucent's 7750 edge Service Router series and its Ultra Long-Haul optical platform to transport the 100 Gbps services over its network. More recently, Verizon, citing capacity exhaust on a long haul network route between Paris, France and Germany made the move to upgrade two optical connections to its core routers in these cities to 100 Gbps.

The reason for Verizon's initial 100 Gbps upgrade very simple: a growing demand for IP services. "Most of the routes where we are seeing capacity requirements on are our IP networks because that's where the high growth is," said Stu Elby, vice president of network architecture for Verizon. Verizon did not have to look far to get 100 Gbps capabilities on this network route. Instead, it just upgraded the transponders in its Nortel OME optical gear. For vendors, what's significant about Verizon's deployment is that it appears to be using it as a dress rehearsal to upgrade similar routes in the U.S. with other vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel (soon to be Ciena) and Nokia Siemens Networks. While Qwest and Verizon may have yet to deploy 100 Gbps across their entire networks, it's likely other service providers will look at these deployments as good examples to plan their own respective 100 Gbps network migrations. As consumers and businesses demand more IP-based services, carriers will likely follow with a similar building block approach to integrating 100 Gbps capabilities into their transmission networks.

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