On the components side, that's meant a lot of chatter around wavelength selective switches (WSSs), the switching components that drive ROADMs. Here's a sampling.
JDSU confirms the network is in Europe but isn't specifying which one it is. Not that it's hard to guess: The only live 100-Gbit/s installation that's been revealed is the Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) Paris-to-Frankfurt span, built on Nortel Networks Ltd. gear. Verizon might have a second 100-Gbit/s deployment to announce, but it seems likely JDSU is talking about the Paris job. (See Verizon Switches On 100G in Europe and Rumor: Verizon's Got Another 100G.)
Finisar is also planning on going to 1x23, by going high-def. The company's WSSs are made from liquid crystal on silicon, a technology that's also used in video displays. The next generation of that technology will be the same as what you'd use to build a 1080p HD television screen, says Glenn Baxter, a Finisar R&D manager.
ROADMs have taken a 1xN format so far because they sit on rings, where they provide on-ramps and off-ramps for wavelengths in a DWDM stream. The "1" part is the incoming DWDM traffic.
The NxN case would add a degree of freedom to the network by letting carriers send a particular wavelength out of more than one port. In the 1xN case, an incoming wavelength can only be assigned to one of the "N" ports; NxN makes the ROADM contentionless (buzzword alert!) by letting the carrier use the wavelength a second time and outputting it to another port.
"I'd say something like that is maybe three years out," says Krishna Bala, Oclaro's executive vice president and WSS division manager.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading