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SC08 Video: Ciena Demo of 100-Gigabit Data Transfer

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I’m a geek groupie when it comes to technology. I can’t actually produce any of these life-changing products, but I can recognize something cool when I see it. And the 100-Gigabit data transfer demo that Ciena (s cien) was showing off at SC 08 in Austin, Texas, today was very cool. Unlike previous demonstrations, Ciena’s was a 100-Gigabit data transfer over a single channel, rather than one aggregated over multiple channels.

The product isn’t available for commercial use yet (and there’s no date set for when it will be), but when it is, customers will be able to upgrade their existing fiber equipment with the Ciena kit to 100G. Other players, from Infinera to Alcatel-Lucent (s alu), are also trying to deliver 100G networks. Those speeds will help the core network handle the anticipated growth of Internet traffic, and lower the per-bit cost of delivering that traffic. In the video below, Dimple Amin, vice president of R&D and special projects at Ciena, talks about the demonstration, what it does and how far such traffic can travel. He also says there’s no technical reason why these speeds couldn’t be delivered at the edge of  the network to consumers’ homes. That would be the day.

12 Responses to “SC08 Video: Ciena Demo of 100-Gigabit Data Transfer”

  1. @ Dan

    Thanks! I really enjoy reading GigaOm. You bring a good perspective, and I really appreciate that you were willing to follow up when presented with some additional questions.

    @D. Golden
    This is a bit of marketing nonsense. (Your claim of 1500+km is essentially the same as Ciena’s comment that their scheme can go “thousands” of km). Your comment on the testbed is a good one, but I would be VERY surprised if Ciena does not have a functional testbed of its own.

    There are two modulation schemes being widely considered for 100Gbps transmission xQPSK or OFDM. Others are have been posited, but these are the most likely due to their performance over the likely optical fiber plant. The likely optical fiber plant has a lot of fiber which has (i) high PMD; (ii) noisy amplifiers; (iii) more filters due to adoption of ROADM architectures.

    The main challenges in optical transmission are: (a) Polarisation Mode Dispersion or PMD; (b) OSNR Tolerance; (c) Non-Linear effects; (d) Filtering Tolerance; (e) Residual Chromatic Dispersion. PMD is the toughest as many networks don’t have fully characterized fiber for PMD — when fiber is purchased it has a PMD of 10 years ago, but a number of companies offer components which can be placed in line with the fiber plant and correct for the chromatic dispersion of many channels (eg. C-Band and more) (cost can be amortized over ~80ch.). Since PMD has to be corrected for each channel (wavelength) then it is inherently more costly.

    I’ll stop here because this is becoming too long a post.

    I’ll be looking forward to more articles on 100Gbps and networking infrastructure.

  2. D. Golden

    This is all wonderful. However, Huawei can support 100G Transmission on a single channel with 1500+km reach and has, for months, a functional testbed established. The wonderful thing is that Huawei can do it for a fraction of the cost that Ciena will charge with the infrastructure to support huge projects on any continent in the world.


  3. Stacey Higginbotham

    primate, so here are the answers straight from Dimple. He wasn’t too specific on the last point.

    1. We chose to bring EDFA Amp to the show as support gear for the setup only. Ciena has installed base of EDFA or RAMAN based links based upon the network design and customer requirements. Our 100G implementation supports either.

    2. Ciena 100G demonstration is not limited to 80Km. For portability and space restrictions at the show, we simply brought an 80km spool. Our implementation supports distances for metro and long haul applications.

  4. To answer the pointed questions above.

    1. We only brought 80 km spool but we have already lab tested a 500 km system. We will be continuing both lab and field trials so stay tuned to for more info…

    2. We used an EDFA amplifier.

    And to be clear, Dimple Amin is the correct name… So Stacey no worries there…

  5. Stacey Higginbotham

    Primate, apologies for not having much experience in the optical side, but I’ve passed along your questions. I know that Amin mentioned this works out to thousands of kilometers and I’ve asked for more details on exactly how far and also asked about the amplifier. I’ll post the answers here hopefully tomorrow, and next time I’ll know what to ask.

  6. it would be nice if the interviewer asked some pointed questions, eg.

    1) What kind of amplifier was used Raman vs. EDFA? Raman add less noise but are more expensive (+other limitations), but EDFAs are widely deployed.

    2) Core networks require transmission distance of hundreds of kilometers to thousands of kilometers. Is the technology being demonstrated by Ciena only limited to 80km? (80km is barely sufficient for most metro networks)

    As someone who is working on 100GbE optics, I probably more informed than most of your reader base, but I can still dream that someone would ask some of the questions I want to hear.

  7. 100gbps * 8 Channels gets us into TBps territory. Among other things – I could now boot my desktop off the WAN and migrate my data-center server workloads from a service provider on the west coast to one on the east coast (and vice versa) in real time as they moved towards realtime pricing based on resource demand. All this in the 2011-2015 time frame …

  8. Stacey Higginbotham

    Siegs, I admit it’s not MY finest work, but let’s not make fun of the guy who had the guts to get up in front of the camera and show off the technology without a rehearsal. Especially his name. That’s just not cool.