XO Communications goes live with nationwide 100G network

XO Communications made its 100G optical network plans public on Tuesday, revealing that it has deployed Nokia Siemens Networks' (NSN) technology on a nationwide basis across its long haul fiber network. 

Randy Nicklas, XO


By deploying NSN's hiT7300 platform across its coast-to-coast routes on its long haul optical network, XO said its long haul network will be able to simultaneously transmit up to 96 wavelengths, each carrying data at 100G and a total data transfer speed of 9.6 Tbps.

The 100G long-haul initiative comes on the heels of its previous move to deploy Transmode's TM-Series Packet Optical Transport System (P-OTS) for its nationwide metro network capacity expansion project. As a future-proof platform, the hiT7300 will enable XO to deliver core network speeds of 100G with the ability to scale to 400G and beyond when needed.

NSN and XO are hardly strangers, as NSN along with Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN) was one of its two main optical vendors.  

"NSN was in the XO network deploying 100G-capable systems, and the other vendor that also is in our network is Infinera, [which] were the only two parties we considered to go to 100G," said Randy Nicklas, senior vice president and chief technology officer for XO Communications, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We could have gone through a full-blown RFP process, but because of timing, both in our need for capacity and the two incumbent vendors' ability to supply us with 100G systems, NSN found itself in the winning position."

The CLEC's motivation to go to 100G was driven by three dominant customer sources: wholesale wavelength carrier customers, wholesale IP transit customers, and the continued growth on its own Internet backbone.

Nicklas said that XO has seen continual interest from a number of its wholesale customers, including wireless operators, MSOs and international carrier customers for 100G services.

"We have seen people asking us for 100G services," he said. "It's not just wavelength services--although that's a big part of it--but we've also had other carriers including mobile operators and others [asking] us about 100G transit service as well."

Besides external customers, Nicklas added that "the biggest consumer of XO's wavelength services is XO's IP network, and I am sure that's true for all service providers that sell wavelengths."

Having greater capacity on its IP backbone network will enable it to add bandwidth in increments larger than 10G. Today, XO's IP network operate with 10G link bundles with a number of 10G links in them, which has proven to be a time consuming process.  

"We're looking forward to installing bandwidth at 100G on our own network and other people are looking forward to doing the same," Nicklas said. "The economics both in the transport systems as well as in the switches is supporting this kind of substation and will lead to a simpler life and reduced workload for the network planning and operations guys to build out the network with bigger components."

Like other service providers making the move to 100G, Nicklas acknowledged that the advent of coherent optics is a key enabler for its move to 100G optical because it reduces regeneration points and the amount of equipment required to carry a signal.  

"We see our transmission systems as black boxes, but I don't think you could get to 100G without coherent receivers—at least not in the intercity regime," Nicklas said. "I think the ability to forgo dispersion compensation is a win as well. You take a little latency out, which can be meaningful in certain contexts, there's less equipment to install, and I think the trend to go towards coherent reception is the way to go to maintain channel growth."

XO Intercity long haul network

For more:
- see the release

Special Report: In detail: Tracking the 100G path

Related articles:
XO employs Transmode's P-OTS platform for its US metro network expansion effort
XO unleashes branding campaign
Special-access proceeding wastes FCC's time and companies' capital
XO puts cloud effort under relaunched Concentric brand