ADVA Plans 40G Metro Gear

Souping up its high-end metro platform with 40-Gbit/s channels, ROADM, and Raman amplification

September 23, 2005

3 Min Read
ADVA Plans 40G Metro Gear

ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) has confirmed plans to turbo-charge its top-end FSP3000 transport platform with 40-Gbit/s channels and other capacity-boosting features that will take metro optical networking to the next level.

The company will also add hybrid ROADM support -- which allows users to add dynamic provisioning capabilities –- and Raman Amplification, which is a step up from standard Erbium Doped-Fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs) and enables transmission over distances as much as 1,500 kilometers between devices.

The approach would drastically increase the power of the ADVA platform, adding many features usually associated with long-haul DWDM systems, say some experts. It could also cause many competitors to rethink their 40-Gig plans by giving ADVA a technical edge in metro optical platforms.

One of the reasons ADVA is adding 40-Gbit/s capabilities is because 40-Gbit/s channels are included in {dirlink 2|19}'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) latest backbone router, the CRS-1, says ADVA chief marketing and strategy officer Brian McCann. He adds that the plans have not been formerly announced but that they were "hinted at" at this year's Supercomm.

McCann says the vendor is also reacting to demand from carrier and enterprise customers that are planning their future capacity requirements. (See Cisco Unveils the HFR.)

"Our customers are filling up their 10-Gbit/s waves and want us to be ready to deliver 40-Gbit/s when they need it," says McCann. "I can't see us selling thousands of 40-Gbit/s slots in the next 12 months, and the right price point isn't quite there yet, but there's demand out there now. Our customers want us to be prepared."

Heavy Reading chief analyst Scott Clavenna says this is a massive leap for ADVA and suggests the move is driven by the demands of large enterprise users as much as telecom carriers.

"When you talk about 40-Gbit/s, Raman, and ROADM, you immediately think big carrier networks, but today there are as many, or even more, RFPs out for regional or national networks built exclusively for a single enterprise or ASP [application service provider]," says Clavenna.

"I think this is a big technical leap for ADVA, however, and it will need to make this as modular as possible, so they don't bet the farm on such high-end opportunities where major incumbent DWDM suppliers have a stronger technology legacy."

So how will competitive vendors like {dirlink 2|63} (NYSE/Toronto: NT), considered one of the leaders in metro DWDM, react?

Though the speed and aggression of ADVA's moves are somewhat surprising, competitors are certain to have such technologies in development. It's a matter of how fast they respond, and whether they upgrade their metro optical platforms.

Although Nortel is still considered ADVA's biggest competitor in the metro, other firms that have products for both the long-haul and metro optical markets include Cisco, {dirlink 2|9} (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), and {dirlink 2|94} (NYSE: LU).

Clavenna believes "these features have been on everyone's radar for years," and that all the vendors in this market may have to boost development plans in order to keep pace. "Nortel has ROADM/WSS and Raman. The only thing missing is 40G. So the question is whether ADVA having 40G now is a real lead in the slowly developing market or not."

McCann says ADVA is also still talking to potential acquisition targets to beef up its portfolio (see ADVA Eyes Movaz, Meriton). "We're actively looking for good companies that will bring us technology, customers, and profitability. But any deal we do needs to be good for the shareholders -- that's the main concern. With some of the companies we've looked at, we can't see how we can make them profitable."

ADVA's shares, which trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, were up more than 1 percent today at €6.22 (US$7.50). That's up €1.69 ($2.04), or 37 percent, this calendar year, following continued growth and profitable results (see ADVA Reports Big Q2 Revenues and ADVA Reports Improved Q1).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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