Nortel debuts commercially available 100G optical system

Nortel says it has unveiled the industry's first commercially available 100G solution and announced that Verizon has deployed the system in its live customer network in Europe.

December 16, 2009 -- Nortel says it has unveiled the industry's first commercially available 100G solution and announced that Verizon has deployed the system in its live customer network in Europe. Nortel's 100G system uses technology that allows service providers to increase the bandwidth of typical 10G infrastructure by ten times without the need to "rip and replace" major parts of the network. According to Nortel, this removes a significant cost barrier for service providers with constrained capex budgets.

Analyst firm Ovum (www.ovum.com) estimates that global demand for 100G line-side DWDM transponders will grow rapidly over the next five years, reaching US$455 million by 2014. "Nortel's 100G optical solution uses groundbreaking technology that allows service providers to meet the demands that high-bandwidth applications like HD video-on-demand, online gaming, and cloud computing are putting on their network," says Philippe Morin, president, Metro Ethernet Networks, Nortel. "Our 100G solution is the result of years of dedicated research and development into this cutting-edge technology, and builds on two decades of innovation leadership in the optical industry."

Using Nortel's system, Verizon has reportedly become the world's first service provider to deploy 100G technology in a live commercial network. Using its existing network, Verizon is carrying live enterprise customer private IP traffic over a 100G wavelength on an 893-km link between Paris and Frankfurt. The 100G wavelength was added alongside in-service 10G wavelengths in the same fiber.

"This 100G accomplishment is a milestone for the communications and optical industries, and is the result of leveraging the strengths of Verizon and Nortel," claims Mark Wegleitner, senior vice president of technology at Verizon. "This type of cooperation and vision results in innovative and progressive solutions and will continue to be a requirement to successfully meet the increasing bandwidth demands of the future."

Nortel's 100G system is based on technologies such as coherent detection, dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying (DP-QPSK) modulation, and advanced electronic digital-signal processing techniques -- all of which the company claims to be the first to successfully commercialize to date. More than 50 service providers and operators worldwide rely on these technologies in live deployments of Nortel's 40G system, which has been generally available since May 2008.

In addition to Verizon's live 100G deployment, Nortel has conducted eight successful trials of its 100G system with service providers around the world. "While other vendors rush to develop advanced 100G optical transport technologies, Nortel's 100G solution has been tested and proven with some of the world's largest service providers, including Verizon," says Ron Kline, principal analyst, network infrastructure, Ovum. "Nortel continues to push the envelope with 100G optical transmission, keeping its technology edge in high-capacity transport."

Nortel's 100G system is part of its 40G/100G Adaptive Optical Engine family of products, with two compact 100G cards streamlined within Nortel's flagship Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 platform. Nortel's Common Photonic Layer line system can also be used as part of the 100G system for in-line amplification and wavelength switching. The system provides for true 100G transmission in a format that can coexist over the same fiber infrastructure with today's 10G and 40G networks. A Nortel 100G line card transmits the full 112-Gbps payload within a single ITU standard 50-GHz-spaced channel, allowing for a full 88 wavelengths over a single fiber.

Optical transmission rates above 10G significantly increase signal distortion caused by fiber impairments, greatly reducing transmission distances possible before the need to regenerate the signal. To solve this problem, Nortel's system uses DP-QPSK with coherent optical frequency-division multiplexing. DP-QPSK is a modulation format that effectively sends four times as much information as traditional optical transmission of the same speed. When paired with a coherent receiver that can detect this modulation format, the optical transmission rate can be slowed, reducing the effects of signal distortion such as chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD). Any remaining signal distortion due to dispersion is eliminated by integrated electronic dispersion compensation technology that adjusts for this distortion at the receiver side of the transmission. By using these signal-processing technologies, Nortel says its system can transmit a 100G signal, even over impaired fiber that cannot be used for 10G transmission, without the need for separate optical CD and PMD compensators.

The company also says its system allows for a plug-and-play installation over existing 10G and 40G fiber networks with little or no need for network reengineering. In addition, service providers with existing 10G networks from other vendors can increase network capacity to 100G by "bookending" their existing 10G optical infrastructure with Nortel's 100G solution. This application has been tested in a live network trial for Nortel's 100G system and deployed by multiple service providers for Nortel's 40G system.

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