Alcatel-Lucent is the latest vendor to raise the stakes in the increasingly contentious metro optical poker game, announcing Thursday that it's adding a new box to its metro platform family and releasing next-generation versions of two other boxes in its metro lineup.
The new addition to the 1830 Photonic Service Switch platform is the 1830 PSS-8, the numeral alluding to the 800 Gbit/s switch capacity in a three-rack-unit deployment of the four-slot chassis. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) also has new versions of its 1830 PSS-4 (400 Gbit/s) and 1830-PSS16 (1.6 Tbit/s), with all three boxes employing the same software release. (See Alcatel-Lucent Expands Metro Optical Family.)
The distributed switching capability and footprint size (smaller than the PSS-16, but bigger than the PSS-4) of the PSS-8 positions it well for metro aggregation and access applications, Kevin Drury, IP transport marketing lead at Alcatel-Lucent, tells Light Reading.
"Metro traffic is growing twice as fast as core backbone traffic, and up to three quarters of all the traffic that originates in the metro will stay in the metro," Drury says, alluding to Bell Labs research. "In the metro, you have requirements for platforms, as you go from metro core rings to the edge or aggregation area and down to small access points. Versatility is key."
The PSS-8 works the metro edge, where data center interconnect also is becoming a much-hyped application for a new round of dedicated products from a variety of vendors, including BTI Systems Inc. , Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), Cyan Inc. and Coriant , the last of which just last week unveiled its 7100 Pico to attack the DCI use case. However, Drury emphasizes Alcatel-Lucent's platform breadth as its competitive edge. (See Coriant 7100 Pico Targets Metro Edge, Cyan Targets DCI With 34 Terabit Platform, Infinera Targets Data Center Connectivity Market With Metro Platform and Ciena Unveils Packetwave Switching Platform.)
Of course, the same vendors will launch or already have launched other products to fill out their own metro families to give network operators a greater array of options for supporting all architectures and applications. Infinera is expected to launch another metro product later this year, while Coriant's recent addition only deepened its existing platform family, according to Coriant CTO Uwe Fischer. (See Key SDN, Metro Steps for Infinera and SoftBank Choose Coriant for Metro.)
"It all depends on the type of operator," Fischer tells Light Reading. "Metro and regional can mean different things to different operators and can create a variety of footprint and distance requirements for both packet and optical services. Our Pico is not a new platform, but a variant and further downward extension of our 7100 Nano. But, we can also use our 7300 [Multi-haul Transport Platform] for a metro if the distance is much greater."
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading