LuxN Goes Metro

LuxN Inc., which makes optical transport products for the access network, is now moving deeper into the metro network with a product that can help connect regional fiber rings.

Today the company announced the WS 6400, a product that combines both optical transport and wavelength switching in one device. It will be showcased next week at NFOEC in Baltimore.

“This is a major step forward for the company,” says Grier Hansen, optical and carrier infrastructure analyst for Current Analysis. “It gives them a solution set that is more than just a series of transport products. It adds intelligence, which they never had before, opening up a whole new market for them.”

As the name suggests, the WS 6400 is a twofold improvement over its predecessor the WS 3200, offering 64 wavelengths over a single fiber pair in one shelf versus 32 wavelengths. This by itself is a big deal, considering that other companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and ONI Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ONIS) offer 32 wavelengths per shelf, says Hansen. “ONI is at the top of the market in terms of density, and they aren’t talking about 64 wavelengths per shelf."

But unlike the WS 3200, which is strictly a point-to-point DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing) transport product, the WS 6400 combines DWDM transport with lambda switching. This means that service providers can use the product to connect two different fiber rings in a regional area or to create a meshed network connecting several fiber rings together.

Hansen says that in order for service providers to generate revenue over their optical infrastructures, intelligent switching is needed. Right now, equipment companies are taking different approaches for providing the switching portion. For instance, Cisco and Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) use two separate boxes: one for transport and one for switching. Others, like ONI, only offer the transport piece of the puzzle without the switching part.

But there are other companies that are working to combine intelligent switching and optical transport in a single metro platform. Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), for example, is working on such a product. And a few startups, like Village Networks Inc., Movaz Networks Inc., and Atoga Systems, are developing products that combine optical transport, wavelength switching, and IP routing. But Hansen says he sees service providers deploying something like the WS 6400 before they would deploy a product with all three functions.

“Routing is a hard science,” he says. “You have to test the software separately, and there are few people who are really good at routing technology. For a startup it could be going a little far. I think taking incremental steps isn’t a bad idea.”

While collapsing the switching and transport functions into one box could reduce upfront capital costs and reduce the complexity of the network, in the carrier world, switching and transport functions are controlled by separate groups. This means a longer sales cycle, as LuxN has to convince not one group of engineers to buy the product, but two, says Hansen.

The 320-Gbit/s capacity switch is being rolled out in phases. In the first phase, which will go into beta tests in the third quarter of 2001, the product will offer an electrical switch fabric that will support 64 lambdas and OC48 (2.488 Gbit/s) interfaces with a reach up to 300 kilometers. The company says the system can scale by cascading boxes together to form a 128x128 switch fabric.

In the second phase, which is expected to beta trial the second half of 2001, it will support OC192 (10 Gbit/s) interfaces and will allow 10-Gbit/s transmission up to 40 kilometers without amplification. For 2.5 Gbit/s traffic, it will transmit up to 80 to 90 kilometers without amplification and 600 to 1,000 kilometers with amplification.

The third phase of the product launch will include 10-Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces. Agnes Imregh, vice president of marketing for LuxN, says the company will wait for standards to be finalized before it releases commercial 10-Gig Ethernet interfaces. She expects this to happen the first half of 2002.

- Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For more information on NFOEC, please visit the Light Reading NFOEC Site.

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birdieking 12/4/2012 | 8:08:58 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro Welcome to the carrier jungle, this should be very interesting to see how they play in the collapsing carrier market.........my guess, no chance.
birdieking 12/4/2012 | 8:08:57 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro Is this renaisance number two? I want to see more cute pictures on your website, like Mona...That would add value to my networking day.
Tod 12/4/2012 | 8:08:56 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro Intelligence, of any kind, is difficult to retrofit...
l8tereader 12/4/2012 | 8:08:56 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro How is it that each company so easily leapfrogs the leader in a space where the leaders - presumably with all the talent and $$ - are getting killed (well - if one simplifies to 'optical' vs. metro optical)?

Are optical engineers and/or optical products that easy to come by?

Are they so easy to build that all one needs to do is sit around a table and say, 'hey, the only got a 32 wavelength box, so let's just build a 64' and it happens?

How are any of these companies going to achieve a positive return on investment if they constantly leapfrog one another before networks are even capable of utilizing the additional performance?

Just some slak-jawed ponderings...
generalcharlesdegaulle 12/4/2012 | 8:08:54 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro and dont forget their fellows...on par with
bell labs and ibm...
getalight2001 12/4/2012 | 8:08:53 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro Fine reporting LightReading, but Opthos showed a WORKING 32 protected/64 unprotected wavelength system (called the IW1000)last month at Supercomm.

In the interest of fair reporting, Opthos should have been covered in the article.
NoObjectivity 12/4/2012 | 8:08:47 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro also shows you how narrow-minded this whole generation of start-ups is:

vendor 1: MINE has better speeds and feeds!

vendor 2: No MINE has better speeds and feeds!!

vendor 1: No! MINE!

carrier - does either of you offer an integrated solution? can i actually achieve revenues on new services? can you support an aggressive network build with 100's of engineers? NO! Both of you - up to bed now! No West Wing for EITHER of you tonight!
metroshark 12/4/2012 | 8:08:44 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro Yet another announcement for a big, expensive box, quite disappointing. There is only a limited market for such boxes and there are already way too many companies building these monsters.

What the market needs is a small, modular, low cost DWDM access platform to fight fiber exhaust in metro access. Why can't anybody build a solution that costs less than $10K/lambda for a small metro ring?
StartUpGuy1 12/4/2012 | 8:08:44 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro If you look at the Opthos product, it does provide a 32/64 wavelength system. BUT it will only support CPE interfaces that are 1550nm ITU Grid compliant. THis excludes Opthos from supporting almost all legacy OC-48,GigE, ect that use 1310nm or non-ITU 1550 Interfaces.

LuxN can support 64 wavelengths with path protection in its current product if the CPE is 1550nm ITU-Grid compliant. But the issue is all of the legacy interfaces that need the OEO conversion.

In the future, with CPE vendors shipping ITU-Grid compliant interfaces, an approach like Opthos will make alot of sense. But without OEO support, Opthos' market could be limited in todays carrier environment.

Tod 12/4/2012 | 8:08:42 PM
re: LuxN Goes Metro Where have you been for the last three years...I can for less than $10k/lambda. www.OrderedNetworks.com
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