Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box

Marconi Communications PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI) announced this week its new ultra-long-haul DWDM system, the first product from the Solstis business unit, which was made up of key staff from Aston University’s photonics lab in the U.K.

The new box, called the SmartPhotonix UPLx160, has the ability to push 160 wavelengths at 10 Gbit/s for up to 3,000 kilometers without needing electrical regeneration. The product is said to be in trials now with major carriers in Europe and the U.S. and should ship either late this fall or early this winter. (The booth demo here showed the box handling 12 channels across an indeterminate distance.)

Marconi’s Solstis unit was formed in May 2000 and now has about 80 engineers. The group’s first product is said to be the highest-capacity box – 1.6 Tbit/s – at a distance of 3,000 kilometers. Marconi says its solution uses soliton technology, along with Raman amplification, to get its bits to go the distance. Soliton technology works by constantly adjusting the modulation of lasers so that they create specially shaped light pulses that can travel a long way without getting smudged.

Close competitors to Marconi’s new box include Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), with its Optera 4000 product, and Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV), with its CorWave LR product. Nortel says its box can send up to 112 wavelengths at 10 Gbit/s per fiber pair, a total capacity of 1.12 Tbit/s. Corvis has said CorWave LR can move 3.2 Tbit/s of traffic for more than 2000 kilometers without electrical regeneration.

“There are a lot of people out there with similar technology, but its really time-to-market that matters here,” says a member of Nortel’s Optera team, who was perspiring heavily and requested anonymity.

“A lot of companies can talk about the same distance and capacity, but not at the same time,” says Marc Mabon, vice president and general manager of Marconi’s ultra-long-haul photonics unit.

But the key for all of these players may come down to what carriers have in their budgets to pay for upgrades to optical transport technology. Core optical networking equipment has been hard hit by carrier spending slowdown, and carriers have most recently been focusing on expanding their metropolitan networks.

- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Page 1 / 11   >   >>
flanker 12/4/2012 | 8:17:45 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box solstis has to go longer than that to have some sort of comparative advantage. Perhaps the box is smaller or uses less energy. 3,000km at 1Tb is no longer a big deal.
Milano 12/4/2012 | 8:17:44 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box Phil, gotta do better than reprinting the press clips, right? Many companies are entering the ULH market now and the question is well taken: what do they bring to the table that Corvis, Sycamore, etc. haven't got yet?

Unless your strategy is to get the Marconi people answer via this board, I'm still waiting to hear them...

flanker 12/4/2012 | 8:17:41 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box What are the q factors at 3000km?
phiber_with_a_ph 12/4/2012 | 8:17:40 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box I see your point that Marconi's new system isn't really something special. A lot of companies have similar capabilities. Marconi is not the only show in town.

However, my belief is that the real question is a little different: what do Corvis, Sycamore, and etc. bring to the table now that Marconi doesn't already have? In the case of Corvis, it is customers, sales, profits, and foot in other markets besides ULH. Sycamore is somewhat better off, but not out of the woods yet.

Technically speaking, Marconi and other big players may not have a distinct advantage over the smaller startups in the ULH market yet, or ever, but the current economic climate favors their lagging R&D efforts. With enough of a lag, the competitive advantage of these startups could be erased. With a little customer loyalty, economies of scale, and broader product/service portfolio, these not so special accomplishments could disrupt, if not end, the growth of the companies like Corvis and Sycamore.
fenris 12/4/2012 | 8:17:32 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box I would rather buy a system from Marconi (aren't they the largest manufacturer of equipment in Europe?) or Nortel(Qtera) than go near a startup with an uncertain future.

Too bad Algety wasn't picked up by a company stronger than Corvis...

realguy 12/4/2012 | 8:17:30 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box There are good reasons why carriers are not spending too much on ULH systems. There are no real functioning systems out there. Corvis, Sycamore and the rest of these crowds are all flops. You can easily spot it by reading even their news releases. They talk about sending one channel over thousands of kilometers under suspicious conditions and then talk about huge capacity of the system may achieve which in reality are non existent. Merconi box would fall under the same category. I truly believe when the carriers meet the real player (start-up or not) ,they embrace them whole heatedly but the real player have not emerged yet.
aurora 12/4/2012 | 8:17:30 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box You guys crack me up! Let me guess. Were you talking to him Sunday when the A/C's were off during setup at SuperComm? Man you guys make me laugh!
Milano 12/4/2012 | 8:17:26 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box "I would rather buy a system from Marconi (aren't they the largest manufacturer of equipment in Europe?) or Nortel(Qtera) than go near a startup with an uncertain future.

Too bad Algety wasn't picked up by a company stronger than Corvis..."

Marconi's ULH group is barely one year old, so that sounds pretty much like a start up in terms of experience, technology knowledge, etc.

So your point is: you can have a me-too product, as long as it's from a big name. That's probably what IBM thought when Cisco was a start up. And Corvis is way beyond the start up point in its life...

flanker 12/4/2012 | 8:17:24 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box hello... anyone out there.

What types of Q^2 are you seeing.

Are are you afraid to tell?
vinna 12/4/2012 | 8:17:17 PM
re: Marconi Touts Long-Haul Box xxx
Page 1 / 11   >   >>
Sign In