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Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
3/22/2002

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) is out to show it's serious about its aggressive push into 40-Gbit/s terrain.

Today, the company announced an impressive transmission record that nearly doubles the reach of previous 40-Gbit/s demonstrations. Bell Labs scientists announced that they have transmitted 64 channels of data at 40-Gbit/s over a 4,000km span (about 2,500 miles) (see Bell Labs Sets Transmission Record).

That math adds up to a total 2.56 Tbit/s being sent at a distance that could span North America. Lucent scientists say this is twice as fast and as far as their previous record, which was 1.60 terabits of information per second over 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles).

Though such so-called “hero” efforts in the lab don’t necessarily translate to commercial applications, the move makes the statement that Lucent doesn’t want to lose out to archrival Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) or others in the race to get 40-Gbit/s out the door. When Nortel beat competitors to 10-Gbit/s optical technology, it became the market leader in optical transport.

Indeed, on the commercial front, Lucent looks to be making an aggressive attack with 40-Gbit/s products. Earlier this week, it announced that Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is testing its LambdaExtreme product (see Lucent Lays on More Lambdas ).

Tim Sullivan, president of Lucent's optical networking division, told Light Reading editors earlier this week at OFC that the economics of 40-Gbit/s technology are already there for carriers.

“The cost basis for 40 gig is already 15 percent less than buying four 10-gigabit connections,” says Sullivan. “Our 40-gig products are shipping today. No one wants to believe that, but it's true.”

Indeed, as shown at this week's OFC conference, where the details of the Bell Labs test were presented in a post-deadline technical paper, there appears to be a sudden move forward in 40-Gbit/s technological developments (see 40 Gbit/s: Ready for Prime Time?). The only question now is how many carriers are ready to adopt the technology in the midst of a capital spending slowdown -- and whether the economics add up for them.

The common wisdom has been that 40-Gbit/s is years away because of technical problems associated with sending optical signals at such high speeds, but it could now be ready for deployment in certain niches (see The Shorter Roads to 40G). Lucent officials said the record was achieved with a new technology developed by Bell Labs called differential phase shift keying (DPSK). Other technologies included L-band amplifiers, Raman Amplification, Digital Wrappers and Forward Error Correction (FEC), and optimal dispersion. The test utilized commercially available TruWave non-zero dispersion shifted fiber (NZ-DSF) produced by Optical Fiber Solutions (OFS), the optical fiber division that Lucent sold to Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. last year.

The last big 40-Gbit/s lab milestone came in Janurary of last year when Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) announced it had sent 125 DWDM channels at 40 Gbit/s each over a distance of 1,500 km (see Alcatel Claims Another Record). Alcatel attained that record using its own TeraLight Ultra optical fiber.

— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, and Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com

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Component_Guy
Component_Guy
12/4/2012 | 10:44:56 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
GǣThe cost basis for 40 gig is 15 percent less than buying four 10-gigabit connections,Gǥ says Sullivan. GǣOur 40-gig products are shipping today. No one wants to believe that, but it's true.Gǥ

How does Sullivan figure that? Must be amortizing over an exceptionally long time period with some agressive cost assumptions. Any clues how he got that number?


CG
flanker
flanker
12/4/2012 | 10:44:55 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
Bell Labs scientists announced that they have transmitted 64 channels of data at 40-Gbit/s over a 4,000km span (about 2,500 miles)

...enough capacity to handle the entire planet's voice and public IP backbone traffic.
melao
melao
12/4/2012 | 10:44:53 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
"Lucent officials said the record was achieved with a new technology developed by Bell Labs called differential phase shift keying (DPSK). "

Are they crazy ? DPSK may be new in the Optical domain! But it is a very very old type of Digital Modulation Scheme.
edgecore
edgecore
12/4/2012 | 10:44:52 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
This system will be able to carry:

2.56 Tbps X 86,400 seconds = 221, 184 Terabits carried in one day!

Bar keep, another JD please....

EC
Petabit
Petabit
12/4/2012 | 10:44:50 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
"Are they crazy ? DPSK may be new in the Optical domain! But it is a very very old type of Digital Modulation Scheme."

PSK is not even new in optics. Back in the days before EDFAs, lots of modulation formats other than IMDD were used increase the span lengths. Since that was around 1989, it seems that whoever writes these press breifings needs to go back to school.

P.
mpl
mpl
12/4/2012 | 10:44:43 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
15% savings is nothing. With IP data rates tripling each year, and with LU's cost/bit savings of 15%, the Lucent solution necessitates a capex increase = 300% x 0.85 (15% savings) = a 255% increase in long haul Sonet-based transport capex.

For those listening at Lucent, we are actually trying to lower annual capex while meeting the 3 fold annual increase in IP data.

Integrated circuit technology (ie the switching fabric) which is dictated by semiconductor process technology (Moore's law is a doubling of IC density approx. every 18 months) cannot keep pace with the growth of IP data.

Something will eventually have to give...our pocket books (represented by total telecom capex) or the technology (represented by a move away from costly Sonet). Actually, it already gave. This is the reason why Nortel and Lucent are 50% to 70% lighter, with respect to employees and revenues, than during the fall of 2000.
butch_rag
butch_rag
12/4/2012 | 10:44:35 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier






Bell Labs scientists announced that they have transmitted 64 channels of data at 40-Gbit/s over a 4,000km span (about 2,500 miles)

...enough capacity to handle the entire planet's voice and public IP backbone traffic.
==================================================

How did you arrive at that flanker ?

luigidedeo
luigidedeo
12/4/2012 | 10:44:26 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
Did I understand you right?

1. Demand for IP traffic is increasing at 300% per year.
2. Technology fails to reduce consistently the cost of bandwidth.
3. Telecoms investments would thus need to increase too much to meet the growing need of IP bandwidth, and they are not.
4. That's why the market crisis.

Thanks,

Luigi
hyperunner
hyperunner
12/4/2012 | 10:44:26 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
mpl wrote:

"Something will eventually have to give..."

One other option...carriers begin to charge a sensible price for carrying IP traffic. This slows the bandwidth demand until the economic equations balance out. Toss out that antiquated academic/military notion that the commerical Internet should be "free". Maybe it should be free for academic and research organisations, but last time I looked my tax dollars were going to pay for those NSFnet and Internet2 backbone investments. And the tuition fees I pay help to fund my kids' access to the net at college. By the way, I have no problem with this as it's obvious that having the best academic environment in the world helps to keep the US at the top of the economic ladder.

But trying to use the same model in business won't work - hasn't worked now that VCs are pulling the plugs.

By the way - well done Bell Labs for the demo, but let's not get too hyped up about what it means for commercial systems. Remember the chances of Lucent ever turning their research into profitable products are almost zero.

hR
Twistall
Twistall
12/4/2012 | 10:42:15 PM
re: Bell Labs Busts 40G Barrier
I don't understand your point. By your math, keeping up with IP traffic necessitates either a 255% capex increase, if you buy what Mr. Sullivan says, or, a 300% increase, if you go with option B. Forty-five percent times billions of dollars in capex seems like a lot of money to me!

Wishing for a deflationary "Dell Computer" business model is just that--wishing. No one is going to play any more without keeping a good margin. The only way to force margin reduction is competition. We've been there, we've done that, and it seems like no one has the stomach for the continued squeezing. Especially now that carriers realize that, while they've got the equipment suppliers over a barrel now, they've got to keep a couple alive in order to keep their business growing.
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