Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better

HANOVER, Germany -- CeBIT -- Manufacturers' efforts to make their metro DWDM equipment more attractive to service providers are much in evidence here at the CeBIT trade show.

The big themes? Bringing out smaller versions of existing products, adding support for ring-based protection schemes for TDM (time division multiplex) traffic, packing more traffic into wavelengths, and -- strangely -- showing products that haven't been announced yet.

The best example of the last tactic comes from Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), which has a cut-down version of its existing Optera Metro 5200 box tucked away in a cabinet on its booth (Hall 27, Booth D05).

Called the Optera Metro 5100, the six-slot box is scheduled for announcement next week, at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibit (OFC). It aims to give carriers and enterprises a low-cost way of deploying a couple of wavelengths over a fiber, using either dense or coarse wavelength-division multiplexing, according to Hamid Arabzadeh, vice president and general manager of Nortel’s optical metro business unit in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“We’re going to be in trials one week from now, and we expect to have orders quite quickly,” says Arabzadeh.

He notes that Nortel's approach of developing a large metro DWDM box before launching a smaller one means that the same transponder modules can be used in both versions, which carriers should like.

ADVA AG Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) and ONI Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ONIS) took the opposite tack, developing a smaller box first. This gave them an early advantage, according to Arabzadeh, who says Nortel was "hit hard on the low-end side" by both vendors last year (Ouch!).

As it happens, another exhibitor at CeBIT, Pandatel AG (Hall 13, Booth A58) is doing exactly the same as Nortel. Its Fomux 500, announced yesterday, is a two-channel version of its existing Fomux 3000.

The Fomux 500 effectively halves the entry cost for carriers only wanting to run a couple of wavelengths over a fiber, according to Christian Illmer, Pandatel's manager of sales services. In other words, a Fomux 500 would cost half as much as a Fomux 3000 populated with two modules. The catch, of course, is that the Fomux isn't scaleable. When users want a third wavelength, they'll have to buy another Fomux 500 or junk what they've already got and buy a Fomux 3000.

Another German manufacturer, Controlware GmbH was also showing metro DWDM developments at CeBIT (Hall 16 Booth B46) that it hasn't yet officially announced.

In this case, Controlware has introduced a new module for its WavePilot coarse and dense WDM box. The new module, called the "OFX-1" or "Optical Fiber X-Tribution" adds a sort of distributed crossconnect to Controlware's gear so that it can support a wider range of topologies. This includes various forms of ring-based protection, add-drop, and drop-and-continue.

This has some similarities with developments announced by ADVA at CeBIT (Hall 27, Booth G36). ADVA's module enables its existing gear to use various ring-based protection schemes for carrying TDM traffic (see ADVA to Shake Its Metro Money-Maker).

Last but not least, Sweden's Lumentis AB (Hall 27, Booth F38) unveiled a module that crams two Gigabit Ethernet channels into an OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) wavelength supported by its existing metro DWDM equipment (see Lumentis Cuts Metro Costs ).

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com For more information on CeBIT, please visit: www.lightreading.com/cebit

For more information on OFC 2002, please visit: www.nottheofc.com

Rex M 12/4/2012 | 10:47:46 PM
re: Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better OPTera Metro 5100, For a product that was originally to be released in November of 2000, Better late then never.

I wonder who much in lost sales that this 18 month delay cost.

Same old story at Nortel

dwdm2 12/4/2012 | 10:47:45 PM
re: Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better GǣWeGre going to be in trials one week from now, and we expect to have orders quite quickly,Gǥ

Does this sentence summarize the stance in the ON industry?
10gmetro 12/4/2012 | 10:47:44 PM
re: Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better A lot of vendors already have compact metro boxes, ONI and Ciena's Metro One. These companies have run out of ideas and are grasping for customers. And what is with all of these startup companies using MEMS technology. The market sector has proven no one wants this type of switch. How can a customer have performance monitoring with no OEO conversion taking place in the equipment. So how can an all optical switch, actually switch on its own? If someone knows, let me know.
wayland_smithy 12/4/2012 | 10:47:31 PM
re: Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better So, based on this description, it should still be about three times the footprint of the competition (as opposed to 5/6) when sitting next to Adva FSP2000/Cisco 15200/15540 but will only require a small power station to run......can't see the competition being worried about this. CWDM, on the other hand, .......
sntwk 12/4/2012 | 10:47:28 PM
re: Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better It is just beginning.
The realy players have not actually deployed or done very little deployment so far. What they will deploy as part of their next gen upgrade will include Transpor gear (DWDM), switching gear, VoIP Gateways, High end routers , some service gateways. Depending on what you include in metro space the $ can be in 10's of billions in the next 6-10 years. It is just the beginning.
The_Holy_Grail 12/4/2012 | 10:47:28 PM
re: Metro DWDM: Smaller Is Better Does anyone have a REALISTIC view to how big this space is for N. America?
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