Huawei Raises the Optical Stakes

Chinese vendor unveils two new optical boxes, including a 1.28 Tbit/s DWDM switch and a 10 Gbit/s GPON prototype

September 30, 2008

3 Min Read
Huawei Raises the Optical Stakes

BRUSSELS -- Broadband World Forum Yoorup 2008 -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. put its emphasis on platform capacity here in Brussels as it unveiled two new optical products and a GPON prototype that marked out its fiber access platform roadmap.

The bigger of the two new optical boxes, the OptiX OSN 8800, is something of a monster -- a 1.28 Tbit/s DWDM switch that integrates 100 Gbit/s, 40 Gbit/s, ROADM, OTN (optical transport network) switching, and GMPLS (Generalized MPLS) and ASON (automatically switched optical network) control plane capabilities all in one. (An espresso-making function is believed to be on the product roadmap.)

The move pulls Huawei, which announced its 100 Gbit/s prototype in July, closer to some of its optical rivals such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Nokia Networks , and Nortel Networks Ltd. , which have been regarded as more advanced in optical developments than the Chinese vendor. (See Huawei Touts 100G WDM, Verizon Goes Long(er) With 100-Gig, and Heavy Reading Homes In on Huawei.)

The company also unveiled a network edge optical aggregation box (in one- or two-rack-unit models), the OptiX OSN 1800, handling traffic from 2 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s.

Taking PON to the next level
Huawei also bigged up its role in the emerging GPON market by announcing a next-generation product prototype and talking about its FTTH success with some major European Tier 1 carriers.

The Chinese vendor claims its prototype is the "world's first standard 10 Gbit/s GPON system" compliant with specifications from the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) group and built using commercial off-the-shelf components, with data rates of 10 Gbit/s downstream and 2.5 Gbit/s upstream. That, says Huawei's VP of marketing Daniel Tang, would enable 100 Mbit/s broadband per user on a fiber shared by 64 end users.

The move clearly pitches Huawei up against AlcaLu and Ericsson, both of which have touted their own 10 Gbit/s GPON developments already this year. (See WDM-PON Faces 10G Challenge and GPON Gets a 10G Look.)

There is, though, no current timescale for when this development might be commercially available, and the technology has not yet been trialed by any potential customers.

But it's not as if Huawei is short of European operators that might want to put the technology through its paces. The vendor is already working with Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) on its fiber access service rollout, which is at its early stages in a few cities in Spain, and is also working with Telecom Italia (TIM) on its NGN2 FTTH and FTTB (fiber-to-the-building) developments. (See TI Uses Huawei for NGN.)

The vendor also says it's engaged with Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), but Edward Zhou, director of European marketing, says it can't currently talk in any detail about its fiber access engagement with the German incumbent.

And what of other next-generation broadband access developments? Will Huawei be joining the growing list of vendors developing WDM-PON systems? (See ADVA Unleashes WDM-PON, FT Lauds WDM-PON's Potential, Nortel JV Buys WDM-PON Specialist, and Ericsson Joins Cost-Cutting WDM-PON Team.)

Tang says it's "on the radar, we're looking into it. We're researching all the key technology threads to see which ones make commercial sense."

Zhou adds that Huawei's main aim is to ensure that its access platform is ready to accommodate any technology developments. "WDM-PON is just another way to get to the customer. The platform is the most important thing, not the interface," he notes.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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