The 6500, which houses Ciena's WaveLogic coherent optical processors, will enable BT to provision 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s wavelengths as and when required across its 21CN network.
BT isn't just considering its near-term capacity expansion plans, though. The operator, which says the new Ciena gear will help support its wholesale broadband and managed Ethernet access services, plans to increase its core network capacity further using the 6500 platform, with "eventual speeds of 400 Gbit/s," states BT's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae in the official announcement about the contract.
Ciena has been a 21CN vendor since 2005 and already has its 4200, CoreDirector and CoreStream systems deployed by the operator. (See Ciena Touts BT Deployment and Vendors Sign BT 21CN Contracts.)
The 6500, which Ciena inherited when it acquired Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networks division, also provides OTN switching and ROADM functionality. (See Ciena/Nortel Product Plans Revealed, Ciena Beats NSN to Buy Nortel's MEN and Market Spotlight: ROADMs.)
BT will also use Ciena's OneControl network management system. (See Ciena Updates Packet-Optical Gear.)
Why this matters
BT is a key international account for Ciena, and a carrier that other operators watch closely, so this new deal is important for the vendor's ongoing revenue stream from the British giant and for its standing in the optical market.
It also shows that Ciena has the current capabilities and future road-map to fend off competitive pressure from the likes of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) and Nokia Networks when it comes to meeting carriers' needs for 100 Gbit/s. Ciena's staff and investors will also be glad to see another example of the Nortel asset acquisition paying off.
Another key player in the 100Gbit/s Packet-Optical market is, of course, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , which is BT's other 21CN core transport equipment supplier. It's possible that the Chinese vendor might also get a slice of the U.K. carrier's next-generation optical action but Ciena certainly seems to have dug itself in for the long haul with BT by securing this deal.
For more on Ciena and 100 Gbit/s see:
- The Full Monty: Ciena CEO Gary Smith
- Tata Stops Short of 100G Undersea
- KISTI Does 100G With Ciena
- 100G Goes Nationwide
- Infinera Unleashes Coherent 100G
- NSN Unleashes Single-Carrier 100G
- Verizon Deploys Ciena's 100G
- AlcaLu Lands 100G Gig in Asia
- Huawei's 100G Is Out the Door
- 100G Decision Time Looms
- ADVA in for the Long Haul With 100G