Ciena Corp. has been vocal about customer wins for optical 100Gbit/s transport, but it's likely Alcatel-Lucent still has the lead in terms of number of 100Gbit/s customers, according to Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin.
That's not to diminish Ciena's wins, which include Comcast Corp., which was announced Thursday as a customer for the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform outfitted with Ciena's third-generation WaveLogic chip. (See Comcast Gets 400G-Ready.)
In fact, Comcast appears to be the first announced win for what Ciena calls the WaveLogic 3. A Ciena spokeswoman notes that the chip has gone out to multiple customers, though, and she says the company isn't specifying who got it first.
At any rate, it means Ciena's latest 100Gbit/s hardware -- announced 10 months ago, just before OFC/NFOEC -- is fully on the market. Infinera, likewise, is ramping up shipments of the DTN-X, the platform that's going to carry it into the 1Tbit/s generation. (See Ciena Pushes Ahead to 400G and Infinera Officially Lands CenturyLink.)
The move to coherent 100Gbit/s transmission requires new hardware, which has led Heavy Reading's Perrin to call this the year of the 100Gbit/s land grab. Every optical equipment has its products poised to steal customers, or at least hold on to them.
Ciena has been the most vocal lately -- it had another 100Gbit/s win announced with Southern Cross earlier this week.
But the customer count is probably still in AlcaLu's favor, Perrin estimates.
At the end of the third quarter of 2012, the analyst put AlcaLu at the top of the 100G leader board, followed by Ciena and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.Infinera Corp. was barely on the radar, as the DTN-X had just begun shipping, but it was in fourth place, trailing the other serious contenders in terms of customer wins, Perrin said.
"It's a four-horse race, which actually is not very unlike what the 10Gbit/s market looked like," Perrin says.
Vendors seem to sense the "land grab" opportunity that's in front of them, too. "Every supplier you talk to, they talk about the other suppliers coming out with insane pricing for 100Gbit/s. I think what you see is vendors protecting their own customer bases," Perrin says.
Now, if you count the number of 100Gbit/s wavelengths sold, Infinera comes out as the winner, as Dell'Oro group reported in November. But the DTN-X forces customers to buy five 100Gbit/s wavelengths at a time, which skews the numbers.
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading