Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials

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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Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 9:02:57 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials Not quite sure how Xanoptix got into this message board but as it happens, I'm interested in Xanoptix.

Tell me more - either publicly, here, or privately on [email protected]
shart 12/4/2012 | 9:02:56 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials Corvis has a 6 port switch.
Lucent has a 256 port switch in trial with Global Crossing.

So why are we saying that Nortel has to play catch up with Corvis?? a 6 port switch is useless.
who's going to use a 6 port switch? Jeez,
just give me some fibers and I'll do the switching
for you.
Photon 12/4/2012 | 9:02:51 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials XROS- is an all-optical switch. I would know! Xcited01 you suck, get your information straight!

I am stimulated emitted.
pfarmer 12/4/2012 | 9:02:47 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials My understanding is that while Lucent's LambdaRouter internals are, indeed, all-optical (using 3D MEMS being supplied by the Chronos divison of JDS Uniphase), insertion losses are such that one has to surround the device with transponders. Implementation, therefore, involves O-E-Os.

Given the challenges of implementing a transparent architecture, which Peter Heywood and I have both written about, I would not be surprised to see transponders used in the initial implementations of the Xros or Calient Networks' transparent OXCs as well, even though the loss figures for these switches appear to be superior to the LambdaRouter.

Pete Farmer
ManOLambda 12/4/2012 | 9:02:44 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials The statement: (using 3D MEMS being supplied by the Chronos divison of JDS Uniphase).s incorrect. the MEMS is actually being made at a Bell Labs facility.

Photon 12/4/2012 | 9:02:44 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials Why would transponders solve a problem of insertion losses? What is probably really happening is that Lucent's lost quite a bit of footprint in the Long Haul that in quite of bit of its standardizations it has to surround its photonic switchs with transponders to condition signals to meet incumbant's grids.
whatfour 12/4/2012 | 9:02:44 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials Stocks getting you down?

Don't be upset and pick on the editor's. All the tech stocks are down. If your pissed off about how Corvis or Lucent are doing in your portfolio(or stock options), don't blame the editor's for posting the latest events concerning other vendor's.

I'm glad to see an unbiased e-pub not wooing over the marketing hype of some companies out there, rather posting news as it should be. News based on fact.
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 9:02:36 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials I've yet to confirm this but a source within Siemens told me yesterday that it's now shipping an all-optical cross-connect based on OMM's 2D MEMS subsystems.

See: http://www.lightreading.com/do...

Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 9:02:36 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials Are you sure about the source of the LambdaRouter's tiny tilting mirrors?

Here's an excerpt of a story I wrote last April (full thing on: http://www.lightreading.com/do... )

Lucent Technologies http://www.lucent.com recently said it was abandoning another way of making MEMS - "surface micro-machining" - for its optical switch developments. This uses a silicon-and-metal oxide rather than a silicon-on-insulator sandwich. Its prone to quality control problems, and the mirrors can stick, according to Scott Blackstone, founder and CEO of BCO Technologies PLC http://www-bco-technologies.co..., a Belfast, Northern Ireland, manufacturer of silicon-on-insulator MEMS.

Lucent is rumored to be using BCO's technology for its LambdaRouter optical cross connect. BCO makes so-called thick film silicon-on-insulator MEMS. This means that the mirrors are on relatively thick pieces of silicon, which makes them particularly flat and stable, according to Blackstone.

BCO has been acquired by Analog Devices last summer.

emayhugh 12/4/2012 | 9:02:22 PM
re: Nortel 's All-Optical Switch is in Trials Can you send me information re: Xanoptix photonic microprocessor technology?
[email protected]
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