Ethernet equipment

Ciena Flexes Its 40-Gig Story

Ciena's FlexSelect platform just got more flexible.

Today the vendor introduced a new 40-Gbit/s shelf designed to allow carriers to cost-effectively transition existing networks to 40-Gigabit Ethernet. (See Ciena Unveils 40G Shelf.)

The FlexSelect 40G Shelf provides flexibility to upgrade a mix of long-haul, ultra-long-haul, regional, and metro networks, due to its compatibility with Ciena's CoreStream and CN 4200 platforms. The FlexSelect 40G Shelf also provides carriers with the ability to provide a mix of 10-Gbit/s and 40-Gbit/s services over a single strand of fiber, all over existing 10-Gbit/s networks.

"Customers want to add 40-Gig to their existing 10-Gig fiber plant," says Ciena's director of marketing Vinay Rathore. "The all-optical design of the system allows us to mix and match 10 Gig, 40 Gig, and 100 Gig all on the same platform."

"The whole idea is to make the network modular so you can mix and match," Rathore says. "This adds 40 Gig so you can grow the network incrementally."

In addition to staged growth, network operators will be able to "cram-pack as much capacity as possible onto a single fiber," Rathore says. This includes multiplexing multiple 10-Gbit/s wavelengths, which is nothing new, but also the ability to mix and match 10-Gbit/s and 40-Gbit/s signals on a single fiber.

Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin says that for him "mixing 10G and 40G on a single fiber" is the most interesting aspect of the new product, and one that will give carriers flexibility in upgrading their networks.

Perrin says Ciena "is betting that carriers will need a mix of 10G and 40G for some time," and that's a realistic view of the world, in his opinion. "40G is not really taking the world by storm," says Perrin. "The overall trend is much less of a hero experiment, and much more about flexibility."

Despite slow uptake for 40 Gbit/s, analysts agree there was no reason for Ciena to wait until the market swung toward 40 Gig. Even though "40G is coming to market slowly," IDC analyst Eve Griliches says "everyone needs a 40G story."

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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