ADVA said today that Con Edison Communications Inc. (NYSE: ED) has already installed its DWDM transport box in two 3-node rings where it transports Gigabit Ethernet and OC12 (622 Mbit/s) applications across spans of about 140 km and 170 km. The ADVA FSP 3000 sits seven rack-units high and holds up to eight channel cards that provide 32 protected channels of bandwidth -- for a total capacity of 640 Gbit/s.
The news demonstrates two things: First, ADVA's strategy of incrementally adding features to its Metro DWDM boxes has helped beef up the product; and, in certain cases, service providers are still seeing the benefits of metro DWDM (see Voodoo Econ in Metro DWDM). When ConEd first was granted its franchise to provide fiber optic services in New York, the carrier said it would install more than 460 route miles (112,000 fiber-strand miles) and would interconnect more than 1,000 buildings by the end of year 2005. With about three weeks left in 2003, ConEd's network consists of more than 380 route miles, interconnecting more than 100 commercial buildings.
The services made possible by the alternative carrier include offsite storage and disaster recovery, as ADVA's systems support Fibre Channel, Escon, and Ficon connections. Other applications include LAN extensions, where networked office mates in remote locations seem as though they're in the same building.
With the wavelength services provided by ADVA's system, ConEd can offer upwards of 20 times more bandwidth than a T3 (45 Mbit/s) connection at the price of a T3, according to ADVA's chief marketing officer Brian McCann.
ADVA's FSP 3000 competes with Nortel's Optera Metro 5200 Multiservice Platform, Alcatel's 1696 Metro Span system, and other similar products from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), and others.
A recent carrier survey conducted by Light Reading's research division, shows that ADVA is firming up its position in the market, thanks mostly to aggressive price points. Heavy Reading's market perception survey shows that carrier respondents think ADVA leads in price but doesn't quite match Nortel and Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) in several other areas.
Table 1: Metro DWDM Carrier Survey Results
|Rank||Vendor||Recognition||Price||Performance||Quality & Reliability||Service & Support|
|(number of responses)||129||84||90||85||76|
|Source: Heavy Reading|
ADVA announced earlier that its FSP 3000 can now send a wavelength up to 500 km without needing regeneration. Previously the system topped out at 300 km, a bit lower than some metro competitors, such as Alcatel, whose systems can reach as far as 400 km.
A big deal? Sort of. It does demonstrate that the transceivers, amplifiers, and other bits that used to power core long-haul systems are becoming cheap and plentiful enough to make their way into metro applications. ADVA says it has already deployed a 430km link for SDH traffic in one European research network.
In the states, however, there aren't as many of those long-distance metro applications as there are in Europe, which doesn't have loads of unused core transport capacity. Some carriers there have no WDM at all in their networks, allowing them to handle metro and regional transport on one FSP 3000 system.
ADVA's competitors, however, say that blurring the line between metro access, regional, and core transport isn't always a good idea. "If you take a metro platform and start scaling towards long haul, you get to a point where its not really optimized... and there's a danger of paying for things you don't need," says Tom Fuerst, VP of strategic marketing for Alcatel.
Of course, that all depends on how you look at it. "Equipment makers are making their systems more modular now, so carriers can choose different lasers and buy the right system for the right span," says Infonetics Research Inc. principal analyst Michael Howard.
Worldwide revenues for metro DWDM gear totaled $239 million in the second quarter of 2003. Nortel had 20 percent of that, ADVA and Ciena about 11 percent each, and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) about 10 percent, according to Infonetics. In the third quarter, ADVA again nabbed 11 percent of the $244 million in worldwide revenues for the metro DWDM equipment segment, Infonetics says.
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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