AT&T, Verizon Have Optical Wishes
In separate sessions, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s director of backbone network design, Glenn Wellbrock, and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s executive director of technical research, Peter Magill, talked up next-generation optical technologies.
In a panel on Packet Optical Transport Tuesday, Wellbrock said Verizon is interested in simplifying its network architecture through the adoption of a single device that offers wavelength switching and natively handles TDM and packet traffic. [Ed. note: Ericsson heard that.]
"More boxes mean more headaches for us," Wellbrock says. But, he adds, "If you try to put this all in one box, how do you manage it? And is it worth it?"
According to sources, Verizon has been auditioning packet optical products from vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. , and Nortel Networks Ltd. for an RFP that the company issued over the summer. (See Verizon Preps God Box RFP.)
While Wellbrock wouldn't comment specifically on the RFP in question, he did provide some general clues about what Verizon would look for in a packet optical product.
"Packet on a blade is a good start. But what we really need is an integrated fabric," so that the carrier could switch traffic in its native format, he says.
Verizon is ready to buy a packet optical product as soon as products are available, according to Wellbrock. In an interview after the panel he said, "As soon as we have mature products, we'll be prepared to use them."
A 100-Gig wish
AT&T, on the other hand, is looking forward to the availability of 100-Gigabit technologies to meet growing bandwidth demand. In a keynote on Wednesday, AT&T's Peter Magill said his company would need 100 Gig sooner rather than later.
Magill noted that Verizon has been successful in meeting current bandwidth demands through upgrades to 40-Gbit/s technology. But, he says: "The trouble is that the growth is going to continue and 40G is going to be exhausted at some point."
As a result, he says, "We're going to need 100G by the end of the decade."
AT&T isn't clear on how it will deploy 100-Gig when it becomes available, and Magill wouldn't hazard a guess as to what 100-Gig standards would look like when completed. And while he doesn't know how AT&T's long-haul network will do 100-Gig, he believes it will be "by the most cost-effective method."
Magill says that AT&T is committed to meeting bandwidth demands, however, and in an interview after his keynote, he said that AT&T would deploy pre-standard 100-Gig technology if it had to, as long as it made economic sense.
— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading