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Optical/IP

Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro

Internet Photonics Inc. thinks it's got a way to stretch the metro optical network. On Friday the company intends to announce the next product in its portfolio, the LightHandler OA (Optical Amplifier).

The basic pitch? The LightHandler OA is a small, cheap, expandable optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM) and amplifier. The DWDM product, which is only one telecom rack unit high, includes a 16-channel OADM as well as an amplifier that extends the distance that signals can be transmitted without regeneration from around 80 kilometers (as in traditional metro DWDM systems) to 300 kilometers.

The product targets metropolitan area networks. Increasing transmission distance is important, because it allows metro and cable providers to build out regional networks over greater distances.

“Three hundred kilometers. That’s pretty impressive,” says Garrett Hess, senior product manager of Ethernet services for XO Communications Inc. (OTC: XOXO). “It’s good if you’re in a large metro area like San Francisco. If you go from bay-side to bay-side there are some large fiber rings, and usually you need to regenerate to meet the application requirements.”

XO uses metro DWDM gear from both ONI Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ONIS) and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), the two market leaders.

Internet Photonics has focused its efforts on developing products to help incumbent carriers migrate their legacy networks to optical Ethernet without disrupting the current infrastructure (see Internet Photonics Etherizes). This latest product is important because it provides metro and cable providers with DWDM features usually only found in larger, more expensive, long-haul systems -- in a small, inexpensive box.

“This is a breakthrough if they can really achieve the distances they say they can at a reasonable price,” says Michael Howard, principal analyst and cofounder of Infonetics Research Inc. “It’s the kind of approach that carriers want to see. They want to maintain and grow their Sonet rings, but eventually add new services like Ethernet.”

The LightHandler OA comes equipped with uni-directional or bi-directional amplifiers, slots for two DWDM modules supporting up to 16 wavelengths, and full operations, administration, management, and provisioning (OAM&P) support. Service providers can add and drop wavelengths when the amplifier is used in conjunction with the LightHandler Passive Combiner DWDM platform, another one-shelf module. It can also be used with the LightStack MX -- another stackable device that offers Ethernet services on existing Sonet rings -- to support a broad range of applications, including optical Ethernet transport, Gigabit Ethernet private line, video on demand, and networked storage.

The LightStack MX is an interesting product in itself, because it transports Ethernet by using unused wavelengths on a Sonet ring. This is different from Ethernet-over-Sonet approaches, which share the same wavelength as the Sonet traffic and, as a result, eat up expensive Sonet capacity.

Analysts note that the size of the product is important. Unlike products from ONI and Nortel, the LightHandler comes in a one-rack-unit-high stackable device. ONI and Nortel offer products that require an entire chassis. With the Internet Photonics products, carriers can start small by buying one box and add more later when they run out of capacity.

“You’re not buying extra capacity in a chassis that you hope to fill later,” says Howard. “In a capital constrained environment, it makes sense to start out small and add more capacity as you need it.”

Another differentiator is the capability to adapt the power output automatically when the number of wavelength channels changes. This is important because it enables service providers to dynamically configure the wavelength channels transmitted through an amplified fiber link in response to changes in traffic demand. This eliminates the need for manual reconfiguration of the amplifier each time wavelengths are added, removed, or simply rerouted in the network. The amplifier also responds to load changes, adapting to fiber breaks, equipment failure, or scheduled network maintenance. This kind of adaptability is usually only found in expensive long-haul platforms.

“This is a huge deal,” says Jack Biery, vice president of engineering for AFN Communications LLC. “That is one of the beauties of Ciena Corp.'s CoreStream. But we don’t need that kind of capacity in every part of our network.”

AFN, a carriers' carrier, has been testing the Internet Photoncs LightHandler and so far is pleased with the performance of the product.

Biery adds that in these tough economic times, AFN can’t afford to deploy large systems and wait to sign up customers to fill the capacity later. “This solution allows us to scale and manage our capital better on lower capacity routes,” he says.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
William F. Letcher 12/4/2012 | 10:34:32 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro you're kidding me. this piece is a bunch of regurtitated marketing bullshit straight from Internet Photonics. how much advertising did they buy for this?

was this some kind of test or psychological experiment to see if anyone's paying attention? or did you just forget about the 4+ other large publicly traded companies that have metro DWDM systems (with paying customers) with all of these features? or how about the umpteen number of metro optical startups that have come along in the last 3 years that all claim small footprint, OADs, low price, dynamic power balancing, long transmission distance, amps, blah, blah, blah...
how many are left? the customers aren't buying.


why do I care? let me know when they've been DEPLOYED at a legitimate customer like an RBOC.


The LightStack MX is an interesting product in itself, because it transports Ethernet by using unused wavelengths on a Sonet ring.


it's pretty obvious you don't know that much about DWDM systems... or you haven't been paying too much attention to the market for the last 5 years.

in the future can you please put the author's name after the article title, so I can save myself some time? I just cut in half the amount of time I'm going to spend on this site.

5514DD 12/4/2012 | 10:34:31 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro Agreed. To further elaborate:

The DWDM product, which is only one telecom rack unit high, includes a 16-channel OADM as well as an amplifier that extends the distance that signals can be transmitted without regeneration from around 80 kilometers (as in traditional metro DWDM systems) to 300 kilometers.


First of all, there's no mention of transponders. A 16-channel OADM and an amplifier that's a rack unit high isn't that impressive, considering Opthos was doing a 32-channel OADM . I'll bet the insertion loss of said OADM is even less impressive.

Furthermore, PLENTY of DWDM systems support lightpaths of 300 km without regeneration, with the proper transponders (usually with FEC or external modulation, or both) and some dispersion compensation. AMPLIFICATION is what's needed, not regeneration. This is nothing new.

"Internet Photonics has focused its efforts on developing products to help incumbent carriers migrate their legacy networks to optical Ethernet without disrupting the current infrastructure (see Internet Photonics Etherizes ). This latest product is important because it provides metro and cable providers with DWDM features usually only found in larger, more expensive, long-haul systems -- in a small, inexpensive box."

Where are said features?

"Service providers can add and drop wavelengths when the amplifier is used in conjunction with the LightHandler Passive Combiner DWDM platform, another one-shelf module"

So it went from what was a one-rack unit high 16-channel OADM and amplifier to a multi-shelf box?

"Analysts note that the size of the product is important. Unlike products from ONI and Nortel, the LightHandler comes in a one-rack-unit-high stackable device. ONI and Nortel offer products that require an entire chassis. With the Internet Photonics products, carriers can start small by buying one box and add more later when they run out of capacity. GÇ£YouGÇÖre not buying extra capacity in a chassis that you hope to fill later,GÇ¥ says Howard. GÇ£In a capital constrained environment, it makes sense to start out small and add more capacity as you need it.GÇ¥"

Those expert analysts again. Do they not realize that the chassis from most DWDM players are dirt cheap to get them in the door and carriers "pay as they grow" when they populate transponders and add amplifiers?

"Another differentiator is the capability to adapt the power output automatically when the number of wavelength channels changes. This is important because it enables service providers to dynamically configure the wavelength channels transmitted through an amplified fiber link in response to changes in traffic demand. This eliminates the need for manual reconfiguration of the amplifier each time wavelengths are added, removed, or simply rerouted in the network. The amplifier also responds to load changes, adapting to fiber breaks, equipment failure, or scheduled network maintenance. This kind of adaptability is usually only found in expensive long-haul platforms."

ONI has done this for two years. Nortel just added it to the OpTera line. Every metro startup does it as well. This is NOT a differentiating feature.

ODH 12/4/2012 | 10:34:18 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro
Hey! I would say it's a good article. Have you guys noticed that, in this new optical age, most LR articles are negative and depressing (shutdowns, layoffs, cut backs, so whats)?

It's refreshing to see such a positive article on a Metro DWDM Optical product. Hope it bring luck to the industry.
MKTG_Hack 12/4/2012 | 10:34:15 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro I don't really care if they bought their good reviews. It's just good to see a start-up deliver what they said they would when they said they would with the VC money they had. And these people deserve some credit for developing a product that satisfies an existing need rather than trying to change the world.

Now they just have to sell it and service it - there's aways a rub!
William F. Letcher 12/4/2012 | 10:34:12 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro
Hey! I would say it's a good article. Have you guys noticed that, in this new optical age, most LR articles are negative and depressing (shutdowns, layoffs, cut backs, so whats)?

It's refreshing to see such a positive article on a Metro DWDM Optical product. Hope it bring luck to the industry.


mindlessly regurgitating marketing bullshit and trying to pass it off as news analysis does not bring good luck. it brings "irrational exuberance".

pogiest1 12/4/2012 | 10:34:08 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro mindlessly regurgitating marketing bullshit and trying to pass it off as news analysis does not bring good luck. it brings "irrational exuberance

Did you get laid off or something? You need to lighten up. I actually thought the article was enlightening.
Light-bulb 12/4/2012 | 10:33:56 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro I can't help but find myself chuckling. Hey how do you think this great central repository of facts (Light Reading) makes money? These T3s cost money, they have to make it someway. Besides its called LIGHT Reading. You have to give them some slack. Its up to us as educated end-users of the product to do our own research for verification. Hell do we take everything CNN put out as the Facts?

Besides 16 Channels in a Single RU? Wow! Oh wait, doesn't ADVA basically have OEMs with everyone in that regard?

Cheerio
bigturtle 12/4/2012 | 10:33:53 PM
re: Internet Photonics Stretches the Metro IMHO, editors of the website might not know all the technologies. I read many articles in my judgement are not great technologies at all. I work in optical component industry. However, I don't blame them. They are not supermen who know all. It's people like you to make decision on your own investment. Frankly, if you see the crowd make wrong judgement, you can actually make money by going to the opposite direction.

IMHO, while there are $$$ (capital spending), vast majority of technologies can find buyers. While there is no $$$, even good ones will be passed by. It's hard for startup since major carriers are also scared. Layoff are widely spread. Staff in telecom are very cautious to make any mistake. They are likely leaning to known even though not fantastic rather than new but risk business. They are scared for next run of layoff. I saw my bosses hesitate to take risk even though the company loudly says we should do so.
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