Cisco Scores 'Shocking' 100G Metro Deal at Verizon

LOS ANGELES -- OFC 2015 -- Cisco has scored a significant coup in the red hot metro 100G transport sector with a win, alongside Ciena, at Verizon. (See Verizon Taps Cisco, Ciena for Next-Gen 100G US Metro Network.)

The influential US carrier, which is modernizing its metro optical networks with "scalable, packet-optimized transport solutions" in the form of "100G flexible CDC [colorless, directionless, contentionless] ROADMs," plans to deploy the 6500 platform from Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and the Network Convergence System (NCS) from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), with plans to use these systems in its commercial networks starting in 2016. (See Cisco Unveils Carrier SDN Network Fabric and Ciena Addresses Rise of Web-Scale Dynamics.)

"Ciena and Cisco met not only our technology requirements but the aggressive timeline to deploy our next-generation 100G-and-above metro network," stated Lee Hicks, VP of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) network planning, in the carrier's official statement.

There had been rumors that Cisco was going to be a part of Verizon's plans but there had still been some doubt in the industry, according to Heavy Reading senior analyst and transport market specialist Sterling Perrin. (See Ciena, Cisco Tipped for Verizon Metro 100G .)

"This is a huge win for Cisco. Yes, it had been rumored, but it's still shocking. This is akin to when Cisco won an optical deal at BellSouth in 2003 to get a foot in the door at the RBOCs and legitimize itself in the optical sector. This is doing it all over again for Cisco -- many people thought the NCS was just vaporware but clearly it isn't," added the analyst. (See BellSouth Chooses Cisco (and Lucent).)

"The selection of Ciena is not a surprise -- it's already well established in Verizon's long-haul 100G network," adds Perrin.

While it may be good news for Cisco and Ciena, the news is a blow for their rivals, most particularly Verizon's metro transport incumbents Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. and Coriant (Tellabs).

"There were expectations that those companies would iterate their products and continue in Verizon's upgraded metro network but now there are huge question marks over their future at Verizon," says Perrin.

Want to know more about metro 100G transport? This will be just one of the many topics covered at Light Reading's second Big Telecom Event on June 9-10 in Chicago. Get yourself registered today or get left behind!

Metro 100G is a hot topic here at OFC, with data center interconnect (DCI), which is driving a new market for simplified optical transport systems designed specifically for shunting large volumes of data between data centers, attracting a lot of attention. Today's Verizon deal, though, is a more traditional upgrade for multifunctional, sophisticated platforms and creates a very visible shop window for both Cisco's and Ciena's platforms. (See Data Center Interconnect to Star at OFC 2015.)

The Verizon news wasn't enough to give Cisco's stock a boost, though, as the networking vendor was trading down 1.3% to $28.04 Tuesday lunchtime. Ciena's share price, though, jumped 1.8% to $20.55.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

[email protected] 3/24/2015 | 2:01:43 PM
Impact on other carrier decisions? What will this do for Cisco's opportunities in other 100G metro deals? This could get pretty serious, with the impact greater on the other companies chasing the business.

Cisco is on a bit of a roll at the moment.... but it's always swings and roundabouts, right? (By which, I mean that in 6 months time things could be all so different)
thebulk 3/24/2015 | 3:23:33 PM
Re: Impact on other carrier decisions? Obviously its good for Cisco, but do you really think it could all change in 6 months, I think it might take a bit longer to turn things around if VZ decides to give Cisco the boot.
dwx 3/24/2015 | 5:47:29 PM
Re: Impact on other carrier decisions? Cisco has some compelling options for the metro. One being the ability to do 10x10G and 1x100G on the same card via the CPAK optics vs. using two different cards.  In the near future you will also be able to do 200G 16-QAM on the same card and then add a companion card which again can do either 1x100G or 10x10G.  16-QAM's place in NA is really in the metro.  On the OTN side the NCS4K is very promising wth its multi-chassis ability, although has been vaporware until just now. It's officially supported in the very latest Cisco SW released in the last month. 

Cisco has always been popular for smaller carriers and metro deployments, it's long-haul they have virtually no worldwide deployments.   
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