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Supercomm ReviewSupercomm Review

ROADMs and pseudowires were major matters at Supercomm 2005; beaches and bowling also made the agenda

June 15, 2005

8 Min Read
Supercomm Review

I have to say, although nothing truly revolutionary came out of Supercomm this year, meetings tended to be solid, informative, and generally upbeat. There were few briefings that left me thinking, "That's it, my last PowerPoint. I'm turning my energies to ending global warming!" In short, I survived my 15th (and last!) Supercomm.

This year’s Supercomm brought plenty of ROADMs, pseudowires, and even water parks and bowling (more on that later). Some technological progress was quite impressive. There seems to be significant momentum behind two technologies I've spent a good deal of time following since last Supercomm: namely ROADMs and MPLS.

NEC's ROADM reality
Plenty has been said about ROADMs this year, up and down, but our sense here at Heavy Reading about ROADM evolution is that the market is getting warm and will elbow up in about 18 months (see ROADMs Roll On). Wavelength selective switching is the bomb, but concerns that the subsystems are still immature and expensive are well founded. Everyone is in the ROADM game now, so hanging on to a lead is going to be tough, as all the systems I looked at were well designed, with individual merits to make them competitive in the critical year ahead.

One ROADM system I hadn't seen yet was NEC America Inc.’s4240 (see NEC Intros ROADM). It’s a solid system with a great set of specs. NEC has been awfully quiet over the past few years – it seems ages ago that it shocked the market by winning a major chunk of AT&T Corp.’s (NYSE: T) long-haul DWDM network. It wasn’t really able to follow that up with much in the U.S. market, and it wasn't until this year’s show that I felt a real sense of mission from NEC here in the States.

Not only does NEC have an impressive ROADM system (ROADM with wavelength selective switching, 1,200km distances, 40-Gbit/s transponders on the early roadmap), but it also has a multiservice switching platform that incorporates RPR, 10-Gbit/s transport, and some interesting scaleability options.

NEC’s multiservice box is lot like Corrigent Systems Inc.’s CM-100, which has rattled some cages in Japan by winning significant business at KDDI Corp. and threatening to land more with this key reference customer in hand. A number of vendors are quietly having to answer to Corrigent's success in Japan, and I guarantee you will see more RPR in the coming year as triple-play forces operators to look at ways to optimize packet transport in metro areas with a broad mix of service types.

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