Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory

Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) announced this morning that MCI (Nasdaq: WCOEQ, MCWEQ) had picked it as a "strategic supplier" for a new nationwide, ultra-long-haul network (see Ciena Gets Part of MCI Contract ).

No mention was made in Ciena's press release that it's actually sharing the project with Siemens Information and Communications Networks (ICN) -- a point easily missed in MCI's own press release, which gets around to naming suppliers in the very last sentence (see MCI Picks Ciena and Siemens for ULH).

What are the contracts worth?

MCI won't give an overall figure for its project, but the backbone is going to end up carrying all of its traffic, nationwide, so it's, um... big?

MCI also says the vendors will have to compete with each other to win parts of the project, which will be rolled out over a period of three to five years. So there's no saying how much of the project value will be undertaken by Ciena or Siemens.

Jack Wimmer, MCI's vice president of network architecture and advanced technologies, says the vendors' ultra-long-haul DWDM gear differs markedly, but the plusses and minuses balance out overall. "At the end of the day, we get very similar capabilities from both vendors," he says.

Ciena says it supplied the first section of MCI's backbone, which is already carrying live traffic. "Ours is up and running," says Denny Bilter, Ciena's VP of marketing communications. "This is our second recent win for long-haul stuff." The other was the GIG-BE project (see DISA Deal Is Done and Ciena Announces GIG-BE Win).

Siemens has also had a recent big win in the ultra-long-haul DWDM market, with AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), and, as it happens, it's breathing down Ciena's neck on that one, too (see Siemens Jumps for Juniper and Siemens Has Hopes at AT&T).

MCI's press release says that its ultra-long-haul DWDM project is "the industry's first major deployment of its kind." Wimmer says it has near- and long-term goals. In the near term, MCI expects to be able to eliminate a lot of network elements in its extant backbone, by deploying high bandwidths and by eliminating signal regeneration gear. The simplication and consolidation will lead to big savings in operating costs -- sufficient to justify the whole project without considering longer-term benefits, according to Wimmer.

In the long term, the project will enable MCI to add wavelengths to its backbone "at a fraction of today's costs", he says. It will also result in much faster provisioning times.

Wimmer says MCI evaluated all of the ultra-long-haul DWDM vendors for its project. All-optical systems, such as those offered by Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV) weren't appropriate for the project but are still considered a long-term goal, according to Wimmer. "It's a scaling decision," he notes, adding that MCI has some all-optical equipment under test in its labs.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

arch_1 12/5/2012 | 2:23:12 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory OK, how long is "ultra long haul?"

is this useful only for coast-to-coast links?
Peter Heywood 12/5/2012 | 2:23:07 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory The details of MCI's project are in its press release, which I link to in the article and I#'ll link to again here:


The bones are:

* Up to 2000 km without OEO regeneration
* "Capable" of 40 Gbit/s transmission

Bottom line is elimination of a lot of regeneration equipment and potentially 4x as much bandwidth per wavelength, so 4x less equipment.

Frank 12/5/2012 | 2:23:00 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory I note that nowhere are the terms ULH, or 200KM and 40Gb/s linked together in the same sentence. I suspect that the PR is pointing to some distance beyond the horizon, or that shorter all-optical spans might be used to support the higher OC768 rate. Any thoughts on this matter?
Frank 12/5/2012 | 2:22:59 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory ... make that 2000 KM, not 200 KM, in my previous post...
captain kennedy 12/5/2012 | 2:22:52 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory "Help me out here what am I missing? +£"

SIVROCX 12/5/2012 | 2:22:52 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory From the reading of the post, notice that the 2000KM language and 40 Gbps are a couple of paragraphs apart. Nowhere does it talk about real capacity on the network. Like 80 lambda of 40Gbps over 2000KMs.

I think what they mean is that they are able to send one or a few well spaced 40Gbps channels some distance and 10Gbps signals 2000KMs. I fail to see how this system is better than others on the market. Does MCI have hut spacings at 40KMs to 50KMs maximum? Now don't get angry with me because I am a Corvis stockholder (my problem not yours, but without more information I think this thing still looks behind the Corvis system which demo full 80 lambda systems to customers a year ago. Help me out here what am I missing? +£
solver 12/5/2012 | 2:22:49 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory MCI has the worst fiber in NA, so to do 2000km is not as easy as it seems. those 3 or 4000 km claims work in ideal conditions.
And to do 40Gb/s is like pulling teeth on that stuff.
That's also why MCI is buying some new fiber from OFS today.
captain kennedy 12/5/2012 | 2:22:37 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory "MCI has the worst fiber in NA"

Can you support this? Worse than Sprint and AT&T. Bad and old, maybe in some spots, but worst in NA?
navigater 12/5/2012 | 2:04:47 AM
re: Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory How bad is MCI's fiber? I know they have starved their network during bankruptcy, but how much would they have to invest to catch up to AT&T?
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