Sprint Bets Big on Super-fast Broadband


On the Internet, you can never be too fast or carry too much data, which is why Sprint is crowing about its plan to convert its core network to deliver data at 40 Gbps using the 40 Gigabit Ethernet technologies. The carrier will use Cisco and Ciena gear to deliver 40 Gig E Gbps over its existing fiber network worldwide. To help put the speeds in context, a 40 Gig E backbone will be able to carry 3.2 terabits of data per second. That’s a lot of cloud services or HD video via iTunes, but Internet consumers are demanding it. And with the speed which new services, including video and 3G wireless, are growing, we need the speed.

Sprint has long been eager to experiment with new technologies, building out the first fiber network back in the 80s and 90s. In 1999 –well before convergence was all the rage — it launched a converged voice and data service built on a packet-based network dubbed “ION.” However, those experiments have not always translated directly into dollars. Sprint spent more than $2 billion on ION before killing it three years after its launch.

More recently, Sprint has bet on WiMAX, but its beleaguered Xohm network has been plagued by delays. Sprint has had to turn to rival Clearwire in order to bring the 4G service nationwide. So I applaud Sprint for investing in 40 GigE faster broadband and only hope it can find some return.

(We will update the story after talking to Cisco and Sprint.)



Actually Cisco’s CRS-1 router uses 40Gbps transceivers designed by Stratalight, so does Alcatel-Lucent. Ciena’s 40Gbps gear will only deliver 2000km distance over 100Ghz spacing (which means 40 wavelengths instead of 80). Both Cisco’s and Ciena’s gears are unable to handle a lot of PMD, and most of the time requires dispersion compensation modules. right now the king of the hill 40g solution is from nortel, they use coherent detection.


You guys are talking about 2 different things. 40 Gbps is the fastest existing speed for IP/Internet. What comcast has is a 100 G DWDM. Sprint uses the Ciena DWDM equipment with 80 Wavelengths capable of 1.9 Terabits /sec. that’s 1900 Gbps! Sprint 40GIG IP network is based on Cisco CRS-1 Router which Cisco developed with input from scratch. This is the fastest router in existance. Sprint IS in the cutting edge of Internet speed.


I assume that Sprint’s 40Gbps footprint is much larger than Comcast’s 100Gbps footprint, making Comcast’s irrelevant in comparison.


Damn Spartan beat me to it, although I would tend to say “some” rather than “most”.


Congrats to Sprint I guess. Most other providers, such as Comcast, have 40Gbps in the core already and demonstrated 100Gbps in production in March at IETF 71. The question to them should be when they’ll move to 100Gbps to catch up with Comcast and other firms.

Stacey Higginbotham

Mark, you caught me. I got all excited over 40 GigE, but it it is 40 Gbps rather than Ethernet. We’ve adjusted accordingly.

Alex Berger

Thank god. The more that make moves like this the more my slight faith in the future of the US as a competitive entity in the cyber revolution increases.

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