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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Ciena Probably Overpaying for Cyan

May, 2015

A prima facie case can be made that the $400 million price tag on Cyan is out of line. In effect, Ciena should have problems justifying it is worth at almost half as much as Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks business (adjusted for inflation) and about four times Cyan’s revenues in 2014 – in an optical environment in which it has been recently difficult sometimes to command even 1x sales on an acquisition. Also, with the prospects for SDN in the public network space increasingly getting dimmer, the purchase at a premium is even more of a head scratcher. With the exception of the buyouts of the Nortel assets (a necessity to keep revenues up sufficiently) and the pickup of Lightera Networks, which led to the successful CoreDirector (a steal at the 1999 price of a little over $450 million), Ciena has in general not had a good track record on buyouts of companies. Since its founding,...

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To Infinera: Let Transmode Run as Freely as Possible

June, 2015

Infinera would be better off allowing Transmode Systems to operate as an independent division than to integrate it much into its own corporation. Despite all of the assertions to the contrary, their cultures could not be more unalike – the former, a high-profile, Silicon Valley-type of company with people consistently logging long hours, oftentimes grappling with very quick deadlines – the latter, a Swedish, low-key, usually pragmatic kind of firm with historically fixed, lengthy timeframes for R&D completion, with a strong belief in the necessity for taking long vacations to recharge one's batteries as well as to help maintain a relaxed demeanor in its development work. The biggest difference is that Transmode has been going after the sweet spot of the metro DWDM market – targeting the Tier II and below types of service providers and other customers in which there has not has...

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Microsoft’s Network: Hitches with Quasi-Carrier Mindset

August, 2015

Microsoft has been caught in the undesirable middle with its Data Center (DC) infrastructure between striving to innovate with the lowest cost, state-of-the-art optical solutions as a huge enterprise player, and reconciling it with a historical propensity to use standard service provider equipment, which often has proprietary aspects that make it a more expensive proposition. The proclivity toward the latter seems to have also resulted in more of a carrier mentality in terms of a “pay-as-you-go” type of situation, constantly responding to bandwidth growth spurts throughout its global network, but there are apparently no signs of an effort to do a full redesign of its intra- and inter-data center build-out to really get out in front of accommodating the rising needs for data transmission. While such a move would be quite costly, it also adds up to an exorbitant amount with its...

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