Comcast Corp. has tapped Ciena Corp. to play a big role in the upgrade of its core optical network to 100Gbit/s using gear that also gives the operator a path to 400Gbit/s.
As announced Thursday, Comcast is deploying Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with the vendor's third-generation WaveLogic coherent optical line interfaces, a software-programmable element that scales to 400Gbit/s.
The deal builds on an existing relationship between the companies, as Comcast has been deploying Ciena's coherent 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s across its national fiber network since 2009. Of late, Comcast has also been using Ciena gear to support a Metro Ethernet platform that the operator is using to go up-market and serve larger business customers.
But Ciena's not getting all of the MSO's backbone spoils. At Comcast, Alcatel-Lucent has also been getting its share of the optical piece, though a spokesperson declined to say how that business is being divvied up. Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. are supplying Comcast's 100Gbit/s routers.
The "majority" of Comcast's backbone is now running 100Gbit/s, the spokesperson added. Comcast first started testing 100Gbit/s on its fiber backbone back in 2008.
Why this matters
The deal ensures that Ciena has a solid slot at the nation's largest MSO as Comcast expands the capabilities of its core network to handle more demand for HD video, mobile data and cloud-based services.
The product strategy puts Comcast on a future upgrade path to 400G. However, some execs at the MSO have expressed interest in exploring 1-Terabit technology.
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable