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Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
12/29/2000
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Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) has confirmed that its all-optical switch –- the Optera Px, derived from its $3.25 billion acquisition of Xros earlier this year -- is now in trials with an unidentified carrier.

This means that at least three vendors –- Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Nortel –- now claim to have all-optical switches in trials.

Lucent appears to be the furthest ahead in some respects. It shipped its Wavestar LambdaRouter to Global Crossing Ltd. (Nasdaq: GBLX) at the end of July, and it’s been carrying live traffic in trials on Global Crossing’s transatlantic cable since September 22.

At that time, Lucent issued a press release saying that the LambdaRouter would be carrying commercial traffic by the end of this year –- in other words, around about now (see Lucent Switch in Transatlantic Test). At press time, however, we weren’t able to confirm whether this is happening on schedule.

Corvis shipped its first all-optical switch to Broadwing Communications (NYSE: BRW) in October (see Corvis Delivers All-Optical Switch ). However, it’s tough to ascertain whether it’s still undergoing lab trials or whether it’s started carrying live traffic (see Corvis: Time to Come Clean?).

Corvis’s switch probably comes closer to being genuinely all-optical than Lucent’s, because it forms part of an all-optical package that includes transmission equipment and net management software. Lucent’s LambdaRouter switches light without converting it into electronics, but it isn’t integrated with a transmission system. As a result, light probably has to undergo a conversion when it comes out of the LambdaRouter. In practice, however, carriers may want this anyhow, to help them manage their networks (see Optical Illusions).

Right now, not much is known about the trials of Nortel’s Xros switch. The vendor is hoping to keep its powder dry for a possible press release when and if the carrier agrees to publicity.

Xros made a big splash earlier this year by claiming that its switch could scale to 1,024 by 1,024 ports –- but has yet to prove that it can conquer the challenges of making such a large-scale switch work in practice (see Xros's OFC Splash Was All Wet).

-- Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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moguefett
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moguefett,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:06 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
I do not mean this in any offense, but this article should never have been published for the content is terribly unaccurate, and as an avid reader of your site i personally would appreciate
you being aware of the information your aimlessly blotting out to consumers. Rather than tediously clarify the article, especially to people who know why im saying this and know what exactly it is there talking about, please just use this constructive criticism as insentive to legitimize your journalism in the future....
fuzzy1000
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fuzzy1000,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:06 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
sorry...the CARRIER doing the testing (not vendor)
is probably Bell Canada.

-one who knows
fuzzy1000
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fuzzy1000,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:06 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
the vendor is probably Bell Canada...


-one who knows
manoflalambda
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manoflalambda,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:05 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
Morning,

Certainly the Lucent LambdaRouter is OOO, no
Es to be found. Hence the comment in the article
about needed Add/Drop muxes around the LR.

However, isn't the Corvis product only 6 ports
of DWDM traffic? Hence a rather small Xcon...

Salute,
man of la lambda
johndo
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johndo,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:05 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
I agree. Light reading is becoming a place for trash due to the editors penchant for finding adirt on companies and writing about it so I won't be surprised that Ligt Reading soon gets acquired by either Globe or National Enquirer soon.. so be on look out for that news which may be coming soon... I am surprised analyst like Scott Clavenna would want to join this trach publishing site rather than doing some great research when he was at Pioneer and now, even John McMillan also invites the king of optical trash Mr. Peter Heywood to his NGN conferences... so height of stupidity...
stout4555
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stout4555,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:05 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
what their argument is exactly, I picked up on the criticism already but would like to know why.
Peter Heywood
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Peter Heywood,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:04 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
What, precisely, is "terribly inaccurate"?
Peter Heywood
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Peter Heywood,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:04 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
I posted something on this on the Corvis board. Here's a copy:

After talking to Corvis this morning, I've removed the references to port counts of Lucent's and Corvis's switches in the story about NT's Xros
switch being in trials.

I've done this because it's too complicated to cover properly in that story. I'll deal with it in detail in my upcoming survey of optical switches.

Here's the bones of what Corvis says:

Corvis does indeed have a 6 by 6 port switch, and each port actually terminates a pair of fibers, one carrying light into the switch and the other carrying light out of it.

At present, Corvis's transmission equipment (which is integrated with its switch) supports 160 wavelengths at 2.5 Gbit/s or 40 channels at 10 Gbit/s.

So, you could say that Corvis's switch can handle 6 x 160 = 960 wavelengths.

However, this ISN'T equivalent to a 960 x 960 switch because it's not as though light coming in on any wavelength can leave at any wavlength. The frequency of the light has to remain the same, so light coming in at frequency X can only be switched to 5 other outputs also operating at frequency X, one per port.

So this is somewhat like lots and lots of 6 port switches, one per wavelength, bundled together.

Corvis does have a widget for changing the wavelength of light passing through its switch, but this involves an OEO conversion, so it's no longer all optical.

Peter Heywood
Light Reading

Peter Heywood
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Peter Heywood,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:04 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
Nortel does have an OEO switch called the HDX, but the Xros switch is all-optical.

See: http://www.lightreading.com/do...
chrisbright
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chrisbright,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:03:00 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials
tech in optical networking. I remember getting excited about Ciena's 40/100 channel WDM. Xanoptix photonic microprocessor tech will redefine "bandwidth" as we now understand it.
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