Verizon Keeps 100-Gig Promise

An old Lucent box helps Verizon run the 100-Gig test it was hoping for

November 19, 2007

3 Min Read
Verizon Keeps 100-Gig Promise

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) made good on its plans to test 100-Gbit/s technology by the end of the year, with a live field trial using equipment from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).

The company announced today that it had successfully concluded -- as of last Friday -- the first field test of 100-gig traffic over a live, in-service link between Miami and Tampa, Fla. (See Verizon Trials 100G.)

The test included sending a live FiOS TV feed from one Verizon Enterprise Solutions headend to another.

Verizon spent several months scouting vendors for a live test of a 100-Gbit/s transmission, as Light Reading reported in September. (See Verizon Gears Up for 100 Gig.)

The trial comes at a time when network operators are getting serious about upgrading their networks. But according to the Heavy Reading report entitled The Future of Optical Transport Networks: 40G & the Road to 100G, service providers are still trying to figure out their road maps for using 40-Gbit/s and 100-Gbit/s technologies. (See The Road to 100G Winds Up Carriers.)

Verizon, for its part, has already begun actively deploying 40-Gbit/s technology into its North American and Western European networks. (See Nortel Takes 40-Gig to Verizon, Verizon Biz Does 40G, and Nortel Wins Verizon Deal.)

Verizon's 100-Gbit/s test used Alcatel-Lucent's 1625 LambdaXtreme ultra-long-haul transport system, which gets its pedigree as a former Lucent product and can carry 10-Gbit/s and 40-Gbit/s signals over 3,000 to 4,000 km of optical fiber, according to Tom Goodwin, the head of marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's optical division.

Talk about redemption. The LambdaXtreme is a product Lucent was looking to do away with, even before the Alcatel merger, according to Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin.

"This stands out because Alcatel-Lucent continues to support it and sell it, which is a good indication for the product," Perrin says. In the wake of the merger, he says, the 1625 "didn't really have a fit," but now it appears the platform "is being used for real cutting-edge technology."

Goodwin says the LambdaXtreme 1625 is a specialized product, "but it provides us with a very good testbed" for future technologies. He also says that, while Bell Labs has been preparing the LambdaXtreme for 100-Gbit/s services, the company is also positioning its 1626 Light Manager (LM) solution to work at higher speeds.

What's really significant about Verizon's test, Goodwin says, is that the equipment was able to send a single 100-Gbit/s signal over Verizon's installed 10-Gbit/s fiber. "Verizon went to great pains to talk about the fact that they can do this on their existing network," Goodwin says.

"We wanted to choose a route already carrying 10 Gbit/s traffic, to show that the technology really can work on that system," says Glenn Wellbrock, director of backbone network design for Verizon. "It's key for us. If we couldn't use that same infrastructure, it would be a showstopper."

While Verizon says its test was successful, 100-Gbit/s technology is still a long way from becoming commercially available. The test itself covered a moderately short distance -- just more than 500 km -- and used an ultra long-haul platform to do it.

Naturally, Verizon hopes to extend that distance much farther. "We want to get it to the same values that we would expect for 40 Gbit/s, which is over 1,000 km. We believe that 1,000-plus km distances are very achievable," Wellbrock says.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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