Verizon has decided to double promote its long haul networks from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps as it turns up its first commercial live link in Europe. This initial move is part of a broader initiative to upgrade its current North American long haul links from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps.
Calling it a "true" 100 Gbps link, the new connection will carry Private IP traffic on a 555 mile route between Verizon's core routers in Paris and Frankfurt, Germany. Verizon was able to send a 100 Gbps signal by using the same spacing between wavelengths that's used for a single wavelength on a long haul system that currently carries other live 10 Gbps wavelengths.
"What we have been doing is looking at routes where we are reaching exhaust on our existing systems," said Stu Elby, vice president of network architecture for Verizon. "Most of the routes where we are seeing capacity requirements on are our IP networks because that's where the high growth is."
So why not just upgrade the network with more 10 Gbps links? Elby said that while that's an option, it "found that within a relatively short number of years it was less costly to put 100 Gbps wavelength onto that same fiber alongside the existing 10 Gbps wavelengths than to continue down the path of adding more 10 Gbps wavelengths."
Achieving this feat did not require Verizon to reinvent the wheel, however. Since it would not be cost effective to build an overlay network with a new vendor, Verizon is looking for ways it can leverage vendors' gear on existing routes. In this case, all Verizon had to do was upgrade its existing Nortel OME 6500 platform by adding new transponders.
"In this case, Nortel had commercialized a 100 Gbps transponder that fits into the same OME 6500 shelf," Elby said. "It required us to populate transponders at each end and lighting them up and moving some of the IP traffic from the routers onto that wavelength. That wavelength is taking up a 50 GHz channel that's riding along the existing 10 Gbps channels."
In the U.S., Verizon says it will take a similar route to upgrade existing 10 Gbps systems that are showing similar signs of exhaust to 100 Gbps with Nortel, which will soon become Ciena, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel Lucent. Currently, Verizon is testing these vendors' 100 Gbps gear in its labs with the expectation to light up one of their 100 Gbps systems in a commercial network in 2010.
"Nortel has proved it, so wherever we have a Nortel route this will be our upgrade path, and as soon as we certify Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks gear we'll do the same there," Elby said.
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