XO fulfills its fiber fantasies with 100-gigabit long-haul network

New tech to cram more bits in your hertz.

Nationwide fiber backbone provider XO Communications has launched a 100-Gbps network from coast to coast, boosting its overall transport capacity by a factor of 10. While other operators like Verizon Communications have deployed 100G networks in big metro markets, XO claims it is the first US operator to complete the upgrade to a long-haul network, making its new wealth of bandwidth available to all of its customers.

XO sells transport and intra-city capacity to enterprises, cable companies, wireless and wireline carriers, and internet companies looking to move massive amounts of traffic between point A and point B. For the upgrade, XO is using Nokia Siemens Networks’ latest-generation dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology to boost the bandwidth carried by a single wavelength of light from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps. NSN’s platform can support 96 simultaneous wavelengths so the theoretical total capacity of the network is 9.6 Terabits per second.

This isn’t the same thing as the fiber network Google is rolling out in Kansas City, which connects individual homes with high-capacity fiber strands. But fiber-to-the-home services like Google’s will need transport networks like XO’s to move the enormous sums of traffic they generate to their final destinations. In addition, the proliferation of streaming video, cloud computing services and just our general hunger for more data on more devices will feed the demand for souped-up long-haul links.

XO’s may be the first US operator to supercharge its inter-city fiber links with 100G but it certainly won’t be the last.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Pasukaru76.

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