Absurdity of Stressing Metro 100G Now

January, 2015

A couple of financial analysts have been touting Ciena as the expected big winner for a future contract for a large 100G metro project at Verizon. While there can be little doubt that the vendor would be part of such a deal, it needs to always be remembered that these announced agreements never compel the service provider to buy one dime from any supplier, and so the actual amount of equipment purchased could be far less than initially indicated. Moreover, the conspicuous absence in the current discussion of Fujitsu, a vitally important metro incumbent vendor to Verizon, strongly points to the service provider buying less than a stellar amount of this gear anytime soon. Above all, current expectations for growth in the total 100G market are nothing to write home about – one market research firm, usually among the bullish crowd in general, is only projecting about a 25% increase in...

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ROADMs Instead of Metro 100G Systems?

March, 2015

At the OFC 2015 conference, one of the most highly respected network engineers in the business from Xtera Communications will be legitimately asking the question on a panel, “What on Earth is a ‘100G Metro System?’” Bill Szeto will be asserting that because 100G currently means a whole wavelength, there is nothing wrong serving the needs with just taking a 100-gig channel off of a ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer). In doing so, it would also take care of the potential problems with stranded capacity that would occur in mesh networks as we outlined in a previous blog article. Bill will also argue that a so-called 100G metro system would provide no additional features/functionality. Also, there would be the avoidance of the issues today, such as with compatibility between different vendors' equipment at that data rate. Obviously, service providers would not want...

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Optical Line Interoperability Illusion

October, 2015

Although Microsoft and others have been discussing the notion of an Open Line System (OLS) to provide standardization with long-haul and metro equipment, there is little precedent for such grand notions ever coming close to being real with any technologies in the past. Naturally, large service providers are always inclined to ask for everything under the sun, including compatibility between vendors to potentially reduce their operational costs. (In responding to an RFI or RFP from the three largest incumbent carriers in the US, if a supplier does not at least say it has a plan to accommodate absolutely every request, it will immediately be eliminated from consideration.). However, despite countless successful interoperability tests that have been performed over the years, optical vendors, especially the biggest ones, at the end of the day, usually have absolutely no desire to enable...

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Finisar/Oclaro: Nearsighted Beyond 4x50G

November, 2017

As with fibeReality, both Finisar and Oclaro have problems foreseeing 400GbE in any meaningful way in the anticipatable time ahead. While each is more than glad to mention development efforts in this direction, their powerful statements included in a couple of recent articles on Gazettabyte cannot be dismissed. An executive from Finisar said, “There is probably more technical risk in 400 gigabits than any of the historical data-rate jumps we have seen.” The Chief Commercial Officer from Oclaro said, “The industry really wants four channels. When you use more lasers, you are adding more cost." In addition, with the expectation of NG-PON2 becoming the de facto standard for at least many large portions of the globe, 25G will even have longer legs. Any vendor that can produce a low-cost 25G laser will be a big winner in the future optical access space. All in all, it is not even that...

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Co-Packaged Optics on Trial

August, 2018

Recently, fibeReality has written about the latest catchphrase in the optics space, co-packaged optics, and mentioned the potential challenges with expense and yield, as well as other alternatives. In looking at the case for the technology, it does have some attractive aspects. The tiny chip-like optical modules are superior to COBO-like gear in that the latter is lousy on pad density. The idea with the former is that the engineer is reaching inside the pluggable module, and taking out the optical engine on the tiny printed circuit board, and then throwing away a lot of the package. While the argument can be made that the package is not the most expensive part, its assembly and testing are both a part of the cost, but most importantly, the engine is only driving about two centimeters away from the switch, and so, there is a significant reduction in both the power consumption, as well as...

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