Optical/IP Networks

Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) has unveiled a new long-haul DWDM terminal that it says will meet ongoing demand from carriers worldwide (see Nortel Expands LH Portfolio).

The OPTera Long Haul DT transports multiple DWDM channels in carrier networks from optical switches to a range of multiservice platforms, including Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork) and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) gear, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) equipment, routers, and Internet Protocol (IP) switching platforms. It's clearly a replacement for Nortel's existing OPTera Long Haul 1600, though the vendor's loath to promote it that way (more on that in a minute).

So, you ask, why launch a new long-haul product when it appears that carriers aren't buying nuttin'? Well, part of the strategy is that the product could work as an incremental upgrade. Even if capex isn't increased right away, the gear could enable carriers to add more DWDM channels and greater reach without swapping out amplifiers or other gear.

"Nortel is trying to position [the DT] as something carriers can fit into their network of deployed equipment," says David Krozier, long-haul analyst at RHK Inc.

"We see an ongoing requirement for more channels," says Philippe Morin, general manager of optical networks at Nortel. He says the new box is aimed at existing networks, but it also offers a better basis for new buildouts where they're occurring. Right now, that's primarily in the Asia/Pacific region.

Take Australia's Optus Networks Pty. Ltd., for instance, which intends to use the new DT for part of its already-announced Nortel deployment, worth $175 million (see Optus Selects Nortel).

Oddly, Nortel insists the DT isn't a replacement for "anything" in a carrier's network. Indeed, Morin must be pressed to admit it's likely to supersede the vendor's OPTera Long Haul 1600. He prefers to say it's a "complement" to existing networks.

Still, the DT outperforms the 1600 in a number of ways: Nortel spokespeople say it is denser than the 1600 and uses less power. It has an optical reach of 1,500 km, compared with the 1600's 1,200 km.

Given this, it's tough to see why any carrier would want to keep the 1600 around if the DT was available -- that is, if the carrier was in a position to spend on an upgrade.

The DT reflects Nortel's faith that enough carriers will be opening their wallets to make that little improvement to their installed base. Clearly, Nortel's planning to mine revenues from its established position in worldwide long-haul DWDM networks -- even as its chief rivals in that market segment, Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), have lately been focusing on metro, access, and integration services (see Russo: Lucent's Getting Steady and Alcatel Joins CWDM Club).

Nortel's not alone in thinking the long-haul market may not be doomed as a locus of bubbleheaded overbuild. "The idea that long haul is dead is a lot of baloney," said Mark Lutkowitz, VP of optical networking research at Communications Industry Researchers Inc., in a conversation unrelated to Nortel last week. One indication, he says, is legislation that promotes the buildout of long-distance services for RBOCs (see RBOCs Get Long Distance Go-Ahead).

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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zhadum 12/5/2012 | 12:27:48 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM "it supports more channels, with a capacity of 10.7 Gbit/s compared with the 1600's 800 Mbit/s"

- There must be factors of ten missing somewhere.

OK, now for the tutorial:
10.7 Gb/s = OC192 + FEC
800 Mb/s = very low speed.

HELP !!!

Mary Jander 12/5/2012 | 12:27:48 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM Checked. Fixed. Thanks!
Machavelli 12/5/2012 | 12:27:41 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM I wonder who the genius at Nortel is, who wrote up the business case for this one.

Why would carriers rip out their 1600G equipment at great expense and put in the LHDT equipment ? Especially since the LHDT product is only marginally better than the 1600G.

There is billions of dollars of unused dark fiber stretched out around the world from countless bankrupt (or nearly bankrupt) companies that could be had for pennies on the dollar that negates the need for densier DWDM systems at the present time.

They should actually talk to some carriers. No-one wants to buy new equipment, they want ways to squeeze more revenue out of existing equipment.

The only thing, the presence of the new LHDT product does, is reduce margins on the 1600G product because customers will now perceive it as obsolete.

Petabit 12/5/2012 | 12:27:36 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM "Why would carriers rip out their 1600G equipment at great expense and put in the LHDT equipment ? Especially since the LHDT product is only marginally better than the 1600G."

You're right in that no-one would willing rip out any kit, but if the cost of buying and operating the new kit was much less than the cost of maintaining the current kit...

There are some facts wrong in the story - both LH1600 and LHDT are capable of supporting 160 channels using the 1600G line system. They both support OC192/STM64, using a higher line rate to allow for the FEC. So their capacity is no different. DT has much longer reach (1500km with no Raman)

The key difference is that DT is much denser (much less footprint), but is optimised for higher channel counts (they are quad 10G packs). So for smaller links you would use LH1600 (which integrates well with DX), and for big links you would use DT (which integrates well with HDX)

Machavelli 12/5/2012 | 12:27:34 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM Petabit,

You are right, no-one would rip out existing equipment unless they had a major increase in bandwidth demand, which no carrier in the world has right now.

Furthermore, there are very few new builds in the world requiring new and improved LH equipment. The notable exception is Optus in Australia.

So why does Nortel introduce a new LHDT product, if existing equipment will continue to remain in service and there are very few new builds (which would not even justify the R&D)?

Mary Jander 12/5/2012 | 12:27:33 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM All: Despite several rounds of fact checking with Nortel, apparently I'm not getting the full story on exactly why this product is denser than the 1600. I have gone back to Nortel for clarification. Stay tuned.
chi2 12/5/2012 | 12:27:33 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM methinks this here be the same product as the 1600, but they added 239/255 FEC. There's your extra reach, and the necessary PCB re-spins gave them a chance to lower power consumption. It also lets them insert these alongside existing line cards and within the existing channel plan(s).
Machavelli 12/5/2012 | 12:27:32 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM Selma,

I understand your point about new lambdas being more cost effectively implemented with the high density DT shelf.

But, back to my original question, who in North America is doing any major builds in their Long Haul networks (not Metro networks) ? I do not see the point of have a new and improved shelf in this imploded market. Most carriers will buy the assets (fiber, telecom equipment, buildings, etc.) of bankrupt competitors for pennies on the dollar, instead buying brand new hardware to expand their networks. There is a telecommunication equipment glut out there.
Nortel's (as well as Lucent, Ciena, etc.)warehouses are full of old unsold equipment (i.e LH 1600G) on top of that.

Selma 12/5/2012 | 12:27:32 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM Here are a few points to note:
Mary's article is accurate in stating the capacity of the optical line system at 800 Gbps (whether it uses LH1600 Terminal or the new LH DT terminal).
There seems to be some confusion about how this new terminal is going to be deployed in networks.

*Nobody is talking about ripping out equipment.*

chi2 understands what Nortel is trying to do.
The OPTera Long Haul DT is a DWDM terminal. It supports translators and combiners and maps traffic into 10.7Gbps G.709 standard based DWDM signals such that these can be carried over an amplifier line (the 10.7G signal includes OOB FEC+OC-192/STM-64 as zhadum stated). Many of these amplifier lines are already out there in North America, EMEA, APac, and are not even half full. The LH DT allows service providers to continue growing their wavelength traffic through the addition of new 2.5G/10G/GbE services in the DT bay. The DT DWDM wavelengths will then connect into these existing Mux/Demux couplers and be carried alongside the existing in-service wavelengths originating from the current LH1600 Terminals. The DT will furthermore offer service providers enhanced OPEX and CAPEX reductions through its high density optical interfaces, tunable lasers, enhanced software tools, and more. The 10.7G interfaces will also offer service transparency to service providers. The LH DT will leverage existing networks by reducing costs and providing enhanced functionality.

The LH DT will also be deployed in new Long Haul DWDM network builds, and in those cases, will also offer enhanced reach up to 1500 km without OEO or raman, with its superior OOB FEC. These news systems will also benefit from the OPEX/CAPEX reductions and service transparency advantages.
optigirl 12/5/2012 | 12:27:31 AM
re: Nortel Beefs Up Long-Haul DWDM The major competition for IXCs are the Bell Companies who's networks require OSMINE certification. As such would they be looking to buy distressed assets that don't conform to their networks?
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