Calient Announces Optical Switch

Calient Announces Optical Switch

June 5, 2000

5 Min Read

Calient Networks, a new developer of intelligent, all-photonic switching systems and software, unveiled its new switch product line, namely DiamondWave, with the announcement of the DiamondWave 256 photonic switching system today at SUPERCOMM 2000 in Atlanta, GA.

“Barely one year after initiating work on this innovative photonic switch,” said Charles Corbalis, Calient CEO and co-founder, “our engineering team has delivered a working platform that leverages carriers’ networks and builds a new photonic foundation to carry them into the future. DiamondWave and our SCREAM™ photonics technology* are clearly the right breakthroughs for this explosive-growth industry. We’re gratified to see enthusiastic reaction from Calient’s early prospects.”

John Griebling, vice president of Network Engineering and Operations at Enron Broadband Services, said, “Calient’s photonic switching innovations hold great promise for the industry. Long-term, such architectures are essential to rapidly create lambda services. Calient’s team clearly has the innovation quotient to deliver a market-leading system.”

DiamondWave Switch Performance ParametersTrue to the initial claims of its enabling SCREAM technology, the DiamondWave switch line will support the top performance parameters in demand by growing service providers:

· Seamless scalability from 8 to 4096 ports per system
· Single wavelength switching capacity of 40 terabits in a 7’ rack
· Banded wavelength capacity of 164,000 wavelengths in a 7’ rack
· Service independency, from Fibre Channel to OC-768
· Industry-leading optical path length of 4 cm
· Low-loss data path (target of <7dB)
· Industry’s widest operating window (1200 – 1620 nm), supporting short-reach to long-reach applications along with single and multi-wavelength applications
· Selective OEO support for bridging legacy applications such as SONET, IP, Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet applications on a test or termination basis
· Full support for linear, ring, mesh and hybrid network topologies
· Reliability and restoration which meet or beat SONET network element performance
· Embedded routing and signaling support for the future MPLambdaS standard for IP services integration.

Software and Network Management Support

“DiamondWave’s high-performance hardware platform is further enhanced by its powerful embedded software agents,” emphasized John Bowers, Calient’s chief technology officer. “These agents enable an impressive range of automated control functions, including network-wide delivery of light paths by routing at the wavelength level, point-and-click provisioning and automated path set-up. Finally, a DiamondWave network of nodes routes wavelengths on command, or by acting on industry-standard signaling protocol from neighboring routers which, in the long term, provide significant equipment consolidation.”

Due to DiamondWave’s wide range of applications in service provider networks, Calient has been proactive in developing a breadth of element control schemes. Calient supports open standard interfaces at the node management level, with TL1 and SNMP MIBs for legacy applications, and CORBA object access available for custom service development by its customers. For EMS support, Calient uses an HP Openview-based platform for value-added service development such as applications for automated fiber distribution frame inventory, network resource modeling and wavelength delivery services.

Photonic Switch or Optical Cross-connect?

While it may be tempting to refer to the DiamondWave Photonic Switch by the more general term, optical cross-connect (OXC), there are very significant distinctions. Today’s OXCs are based on electrical rather than photonic switching fabrics, and therefore do not demonstrate the optical transparency, scalability and cost-effectiveness required to grow networks in the future. Calient uses the term photonic to designate a connection where the data path is purely photonic, with no electrical components or conversions. In addition, the term cross-connect typically applies to products that provision connections on a manual or semi-automated basis, utilizing manually entered commands or direct operations system stimulation. In contrast, the term switch typically applies to a product that can dynamically set up and terminate calls based on interaction with other autonomous network equipment using a standardized signaling protocol.

Since Calient’s product utilizes a pure photonic data path and will dynamically establish wavelength paths via a signaling protocol, it can truly be called a Photonic Switch, as opposed to the more limited term optical cross-connect.

Projected Economic Benefits of DiamondWave

The DiamondWave product line was developed to deliver reduction in first cost, and exponentially lower ongoing operating costs which arise from such factors as interface obsolescence, power consumption, space acquisition, non-automated service deployment.

Modeling of eight typical service provider ring and mesh network configurations has, in fact, shown DiamondWave can deliver first-cost savings of 50% over OC-48 capable OEO cross-connects when routing OC-48-based traffic, a 90% first-cost savings for OC-48 capable OEO cross-connects when routing OC-192 traffic, and a 75% first-cost savings for OC-192 capable OEO cross-connects when routing OC-192 traffic. These savings are derived from the elimination of lasers, receivers, transponders and costly high-speed electronic switch cores.

Not yet included in the modeling effort are the higher lifecycle cost savings achieved by eliminating a current phenomenon Calient calls the Overbuild Syndrome, referring to the natural churn experienced in OEO networks required to keep up with ever-increasing trunk rates and more complex services. Given today’s acceleration in service rates, it is estimated that this churn inflates the cost of a network 400% over its scheduled life.

The initial first-cost analysis of OEO cross-connects versus photonic switching solutions will be available as a white paper to press and prospects upon request.


Calient’s DiamondWave system will be introduced at SUPERCOMM Booth 655 (Hall A). Booth visitors will see an operational switch demonstrating

· Video switching using live broadcast traffic over fiber and an FM modulated scheme
· Broadband 13XX and 15XX functionality, supporting short-reach and long-reach applications
· Multi-format switching including 1310 nm – SONET; 1310 nm – video; 1325 nm – Gigabit Ethernet; and 15XX nm band – 4-channel WDM
· Full format transparency
· Full data rate transparency

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