Operators and carriers are moving 40 Gbps (40G) optical networking equipment, with vendors touting deals and market share, and all sides positioning for the shift to 100G.

(To read about recent 40G activity, click here and here.)

The 40G market finally has entered "a generalized deployment phase," said Ron Kline, research director at Ovum and author of the consulting firm’s "40G/100G Update," released in late November.

According to the report, 30-plus network operators have spent more than $250 million deploying the technology since 2005, with Comcast and AT&T having the largest commercial deployments.

That Comcast is driving this optical charge is no surprise. In an interview with CT published in November, Comcast Vice President Network and Transport Engineering John Leddy said that the Comcast national backbone is "fully Nx(by) 40G today."

"We are also adding more 40G in our regional networks, both as interconnects to the national backbone and between core regional locations," Leddy said.

Comcast has used Nortel optics and Cisco IP interfaces both in its 40G production networks and 100 G trials.
40G leaders, drivers In early December, Nortel announced its 36th and 37th wins for the 40G dual polarization quadrature phase shift keying (DP-QPSK) gear that it introduced in April: Canadian carrier Telus and US MSO Mediacom.

For its part, Nokia Siemens Networks leaned upon the Ovum report to claim its position as the leader in the wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) deployment of 40G, with 35 percent of the market share.

Further proof that 40G is real comes from the test and measurement sector. Given the R&D requirements of 40G, Sunrise Telecom VP Marketing Bahaa Moukadam said it was especially important to be "neither too early nor too late."

But Moukadam believes they got the timing right. "In the last few months, (customers) have said, ‘Hey, I have a need now,’" he said.

Moukadam said that drivers for 40G adoption include ever increasing traffic flows, especially video; the need to remove existing 10G bottlenecks; and 40G’s requirement for fewer network elements and less space and power.

As with other vendors, Sunrise has adopted a modular and portable test platform, with its 40G module itself bearing an Ethernet port that enables remote control. Approaching "hype" While 100G is "the next thing," Moukadam said that he expects a "hype phase."

"In terms of real deployment of 100G, it’s at least two or three years from now because of the cost, the complexity, the technical challenges of it," he said. "The standards probably won’t be finalized until late 2010."

Leddy sounded eager to get the ball rolling. In the November interview, he summarized Comcast’s two 100G trials and expressed an interest in continuing trials "as components of a full standard 100GigE implementation become available."

"We could use 100G now and have been pushing vendors to deliver as soon as possible," he said.

Whether hyped or not, vendors have begun positioning their respective approaches to 100G. At the Supercomputing Conference 2008 in Austin Texas in mid-November, for instance, Ciena demonstrated a single-wavelength payload transmission of a 100G data stream in collaboration with Caltech.

This differed from other implementations, the company said, that combined two 40G signals with "fillers" to reach 100G or "inversely multiplexed" 10 separate 10G optical signals.

– Jonathan Tombes

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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