XO Deploys First Nationwide 100G Network
XO Communications Inc. (OTC: XOHO) today claims to be the first U.S. network operator to deploy 100G technology across its national fiber optic network, using Nokia Networks ’ Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) network based on the hiT7300 platform.
It's a legitimate claim, says Heavy Reading optical networking analyst Sterling Perrin, because deployments to this point by companies such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) have been on specific routes and not across a national network.
And it's surprising on a couple of fronts: First, XO didn't go through a lengthy request for proposal (RFP) process before making this leap, choosing instead to select from among its two existing optical vendors, NSN and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN). Second, choosing NSN over Infinera might surprise many, because XO was an early trial user of Infinera's 100G product. (See XO Tests Infinera's 100G)
XO CTO and SVP Randy Nicklas says timing drove both decisions.
"We recognized that we would need significant installments of bandwidth in multiple locations this year," Nicklas says. "We had to make a decision, and we were in more of a hurry, so we decided not to RFP and look at a lot of different vendors."
NSN was better prepared to meet XO's terms and timing and thus won the business, Nicklas says. But he adds that XO has launched another RFP on further development its network and looking at post-100G vendors.
That makes sense to analyst Perrin, who believes XO is likely to add a second 100G vendor as well.
XO is seeing demand for 100G trunks from its wholesale customers, including mobile network operators, cable companies, CDNs and cloud service companies but Nicklas doesn't expect there to be a huge spike in demand for 100G client services just yet.
Instead, a real benefit to deploying 100G now, besides raw bandwidth, is lower cost per bit per mile. While 100G transponders may still be more expensive than 10G or 40G equivalents, moving to 100G simplifies network operations by reducing multiple 10G interfaces, thus reducing overall costs.
"It's simply a better way to build a network," says Perrin.
So XO lowers its costs, makes its customers happier and prepares for a future that includes more bandwidth demands. All this was accomplished in a six-month to seven-month turn-up period with relatively few glitches, according to both Nicklas and Jim Benson, head of Optical Networks for the Americas at NSN.
The coherent nature of 100G meant the technology worked on XO's existing fiber, and other than the need for new, more expensive test gear, the carrier hasn't faced many issues with this technology transition.
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— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading