Optical gear targets 100 Gigabit speeds


optical-fiber.jpgThe massive online video boom is putting strain on the optical infrastructure, prompting researchers and equipment makers to come up with ways to transmit more data at higher speeds over the existing networks. The target everyone seems to have in their cross hair is 100 gigabits per second – at least when it comes the long haul networks that connect cities.

Today, Alcatel-Lucent owned Bell Labs showed off a technology that allows today’s 40 Gbps long haul networks to jump to 100 gigabits per second. They transmitted 10 100-Gbps WDM channels over a 1,200-kilometer distance.

“If you look at VOD — if it takes off, carriers will need to upgrade their networks. In a few years, 90 percent of traffic will be VOD, and bandwidth demand will go up by a factor of 10,” Martin Zirngibl, director of Bell Labs Data/Optical Networks Research Department told LightReading.

But he and his Franco-American corporate masters are not the only ones looking to zoom past the 100 Gbps mark. Tomorrow, CoreOptics and Siemens are going to present a paper (PDF) that claims that the two companies have been able to send data at 111 gigabits per second over 10 channels on a single fiber at 50 GHz channel spacing over a distance of 2,400 kilometers.

These speed tests show that older networks can be repurposed to support speeds of 100 Gbps. Bernhard Kubis, vice president of Research and Development at Siemens Networks in a press release said:

“This demonstration proved the feasibility of transmission of 100 Gbps over the 10 Gbps network infrastructure installed today.”

Infinera and Level 3 had showed off their own capabilities in a test transmission held in November 2006.


Victor Blake
  1. VOD and long haul are completely un-related.
  2. VOD will drive growth at abut 4x to 5x, not 10x
  3. The HSSG of IEEE will develop a 100G basebad standard (if we are lucky and the 40G crowd doesn’t sell the farm to save the roostr). That doesn’t make for a 100G long haul standard.
  4. Yes we need a long haul standard as well.

So what is the big obstacle. It’s actually Sun Microsystems and the like who say that 100G is not needed (because they do not want to take the R&D expense). OK we get it — servers do not need 100G. It’s also true that hard drives do not need to be 100G, but we clearly need 10G in the network today.


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