Poll Paints Bright Future for CWDM

Coarse wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM) could eventually overtake DWDM in metro markets, according to a Light Reading Research Poll on the subject staged in October.

A total of 249 people took the poll, and -- surprisingly -- 43 percent of them went so far as to say that CWDM would overtake DWDM in metro markets. Another 35 percent said CWDM would be widely deployed, but not as widely deployed as DWDM.

The full results of the poll can be seen here.

Until recently, CWDM was considered something of a poor cousin to DWDM -- partly because it could pump only up to eight channels down a pair of fibers, and partly because it wouldn't work over distances of more than about 50 kilometers.

Now sentiment appears to have changed, mainly because CWDM promises to help carriers out of a jam by boosting bandwidths in metro networks without busting the bank.

Opinions vary over how much carriers can actually save with the technology. Some CWDM equipment vendors say they can cut costs by a factor of three, while DWDM vendors say savings rarely exceed 20 percent. In the Light Reading poll, 30 percent of respondents thought CWDM could deliver savings of more than 50 percent compared to DWDM. Only 25 percent of respondents thought savings would be 20 percent or less.

Confidence in CWDM as a technology appears to have grown since a 16-channel version was standardized by the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) last June. In the Light Reading poll, 82 percent of respondents said CWDM was mature enough to be used in metro networks; only 11 percent thought it wasn't.

The other reason for CWDM's increasing popularity is probably the growing availability of low water peak fiber, required for 16-channel systems, and the arrival of innovative CWDM solutions from the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Transmode Systems AB (see Cisco Adds CWDM to Switches and Transmode Makes a Little Go a Long Way).

These and other issues concerning CWDM will be put in the spotlight in a Light Reading Webinar scheduled for next Tuesday, November 19, and hosted by Yours Truly. To get more information and to register for the Webinar, entitled "CWDM: Optical Capacity Without the Cost", please click here.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:19:14 PM
re: Poll Paints Bright Future for CWDM So the summary looks something like this:

CWDM is cheaper
Less initial investment
Less incremental investment
Good economic models
etc. etc. but,

BUT one must first lay down this ZWP fiber for CWDM to work!

So the question is: who gains the most from the "CWDM is better" argument?
dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 9:19:07 PM
re: Poll Paints Bright Future for CWDM gea said: "Nah. Just for 16 wavelength CWDM. 8 Wavelength CWDM works just fine on regular SMF 28, which is why it's already being deployed."

Gea, what I hear you saying is: only 8 channel cwdm can be used over the exisitng fiber. For anything higher, one needs zwp fiber to avoid the mid zone loss peak. So this does not address the scalability issue over the regular, already laid down fibers that were being discussed on this thread a little ago.

Now as for the economics model etc., I have seen lots of presentations on how the DWDM is the best solution of the both world.

As I said before (and also mentioned by others), both CWDM and DWDM have their niches. None of these technologies are gonna go away in favor of the other.

BTW, it seems like Peter Haywood is a party to CWDM! Anyone knows why?

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