AlcaLu Extends Its 100G

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is introducing a version of its 100Gbit/s coherent optical DWDM technology that goes 2,000km, compared with 1,500km for the original version.

The 100G XR card, as it's named, is being announced Tuesday for the 1830 Photonic Service Switch. The difference from the original card is in firmware tweaks, meaning AlcaLu's application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) -- the analog/digital converter and the digital signal procesor (DSP) that are at the heart of a coherent receiver -- didn't have to be changed, says Sam Bucci, head of AlcaLu's terrestrial optics business.

AlcaLu will continue to sell its regular 100Gbit/s card as well, because it's priced lower. (Bucci wouldn't say how much lower.)

Why this matters
AlcaLu had received a lot of credit for being first to market with a single-carrier 100Gbit/s card, as opposed to the dual-carrier technology developed by Nortel. But word had gotten around that the technology had limited reach.

That perception seems to come more from competitors than from carriers, says Sterling Perrin, analyst with Heavy Reading. "My sense is that Alcatel-Lucent kind of let that accusation ferment in the industry by not really combatting it," he says.

AlcaLu claims to have 1,200 100Gbit/s line cards deployed, so it's hard to say the company was handicapped by its 1,500km reach. Still, AlcaLu had to come up with a bigger number to keep up on the marketing front. In September, for instance, Nokia Networks announced a 100Gbit/s platform with a 2,500km repeaterless reach.

For more
A quick refresher on AlcaLu's single-carrier 100Gbit/s and related work:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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