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Optical/IP

Ciena Dresses Up CoreStream

Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) said today it will soon freshen up its CoreStream long-haul DWDM transport systems (see Ciena Enhances CoreStream). The coming improvements include include support for 1- and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet connections, tunable transceivers, and new integrated line amplifiers (ILAs).

The big picture is that, even on an established, widely deployed system, long-haul vendors are always looking to hammer out operational costs where they can. The addition of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, for instance, makes it less expensive for carriers to connect the CoreStream to its core routers than it would be by using TDM interfaces.

Other cost savings come by using tunable lasers, Ciena says. Tunable lasers mean fewer parts are needed in the system, and they allow for remote provisioning, which cuts down on maintenance costs.

By using ILAs, Ciena says its systems will recover more quickly in the event of a fiber cut or network failure, thanks to a technique called transient suppression.

The ILAs and tunable transceivers will be ready this summer; the Ethernet interfaces will be released by the end of this year, Ciena says.

Such improvements are usually spurred on by a specific customer request. Ciena wouldn't cite the culprits here. "We always work closely with our customers and prospects, and we're always thinking of ways to improve our products," says Glenn Jasper, Ciena's always-thinking spokesman.

Jasper says Ciena has shipped 2,200 CoreStream systems to date, and the product is installed in networks run by the likes of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON), British Telecommunications plc (BT) (NYSE: BTY; London: BTA), and Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) (see Ciena's BT Coup: How Big?). It will be possible for existing customers to take advantage of the coming improvements, though it's unlikely a customer would choose to replacing the ILAs on an in-service system, Ciena says.

The CoreStream competes with Alcatel SA's (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) 1686 WM, Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) ONS 15800 series, Corvis Corp.'s (Nasdaq: CORV) CoreWave systems, and similar systems from at least eight other vendors.

Market research firm Dell'Oro Group says the worldwide DWDM transport gear market yielded $2.4 billion in revenues last year and $440 million in revenues during the first quarter of 2003. The company wouldn't comment on Ciena's market position.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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