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Cable Tuning In Ciena DWDM

The Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) CN 4200 DWDM platform is finding a sweet spot in the networks of cable operators. (See Cox Selects Ciena WDM.)

Ciena announced Monday that Cox Communications Inc. has certified the product for deployment in its networks, and in fact has been doing so in "multiple divisions" over the past two months. (See Cox Selects Ciena WDM.)

Ciena marketing director Mitch Auster says the platform is also being deployed at multiple locations in three other cable networks -- two in North America and another in South America.

Released only last year, the 4200 has emerged as somewhat of a rock star in Ciena's portfolio. The platform is already in use at 40 customers across its telco, cable, government, and enterprise target markets, the company says.

But the 4200's cable market revenues aren't yet as big as its telco revenues, which strikes Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin as a bit ironic.

"The 4200 was built with the cable MSO market very much in mind, but, so far, the product's traction has come from outside cable," Perrin says. The 4200 saw almost immediate acceptance in such high-profile deals as the BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) 21CN network and at Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM). (See Ciena Launches FlexSelect.)

Auster believes the cable industry's attraction to the 4200 has a lot to do with network convergence. Cox is using the 4200 to support the aggregation and transport of residential and business services using the same network. "I think where this is leading us is that it changes the economics of building multiservice transport networks," Auster says.

"With the CN 4200, we can reduce our wavelength utilization and have a single line card delivering SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, and storage services on different reprogrammable ports –- instead of needing three different line cards or network devices," said Cox's director of network architecture Darryl Ladd in a prepared statement Monday.

Heavy Reading's Perrin says other cable operators may end up seeing it that way, too. "The Cox win is definitely a milestone for Ciena," Perrin says. "A win with a top 10 U.S. MSO is a big validation for the product, and means that if it's a fit for one big MSO, it is likely a fit for others as well."

The CN 4200, like other DWDM products, uses digital wrapper technology to pack multiple traffic feeds into one wavelength. (See Alcatel Intros Metro DWDM Gear and Alcatel Spruces Up SDH Box.) Auster says the device cuts down wavelength usage by about 75 percent over traditional DWDM products.

Auster says the 4200's universal line cards and programmable ports take it up a notch from competing Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) products such as the Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY) 7500, the Nortel Networks Ltd. OM 5200 and the Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE) GigaMux 6400.

But the 4200’s real differentiator, Auster says, is its “universal” line card with individual user-programmable ports.

The 4200's line cards can be programmed to support different data services including Fast Ethernet, 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, OC3, OC192, Fibre Channel, and Escon, Auster says. Most of Ciena’s competitors, he says, require separate cards for each service.

Also, changes to the device’s programmable ports are made remotely and nearly instantly using pull-down menus. The FlexSelect operating system then establishes the new distribution path for the traffic and enforces any service-level agreements.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

ibby8000 12/5/2012 | 3:57:54 AM
re: Cable Tuning In Ciena DWDM What Ciena are doing, Meriton networks have been doing for a few years already, what with swappable SFP's that can tune from 100M to 2.7G with SR, IR and XLR interfaces.

I think someone is playing catch up
Mark Sebastyn 12/5/2012 | 3:57:53 AM
re: Cable Tuning In Ciena DWDM I like Meriton, but having technology and having customers and shipped revenue is another story.

What is Ciena 4200 revenue vs. Meriton? That's the important metric.
njguy 12/5/2012 | 3:57:43 AM
re: Cable Tuning In Ciena DWDM The 4200 is Ciena's flagship. It is also from Internet Photonics, acquired in 2004. Ciena just chose to close that location and lay all the developers off. They think the technology will tranfer easily to other locations.

I think it will be a while before we see the next generation from Ciena.
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