China Telecom Preps 100G Trial

China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) has shortlisted five vendors for its latest 100Gbit/s trials, which will take place in December or early in 2012.

The carrier, China's largest wireline network operator, has chosen Alcatel Shanghai Bell Co. Ltd. , Nokia Networks (NSN) and local vendors Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) and FiberHome Technologies Group as its technology suppliers.

Both Huawei and NSN will be deploying their Coherent 100Gbit/s products in the China Telecom trials. (See Huawei's 100G Is Out the Door and NSN Makes Optical Advances.)

Lucy Lu, director of WDM marketing support at Huawei, noted that her company had been the sole supplier to China Telecom for a 100Gbit/s trial conducted a year ago. (See China Telecom Completes 100G Test.)

The coming trial, which has been delayed slightly while China Telecom has sought further information from vendors, will focus on performance and vendor interworking, she says. "China Telecom has investigated our supply chains and visited all our factories to make sure we actually have 100Gbit/s products," adds Lu.

Like most carriers, China Telecom's transport capacity expansion plan is being driven by the boom in broadband and mobile data: The operator is in the early stages of a 20Mbit/s FTTH rollout in its designated home territory in southern and central China. (See AlcaLu Wins China Telecom Broadband Deal, Ultra Broadband: More Than Just Fiber and China Telecom's FTTH Feast.)

The carrier is not alone in testing the capabilities of the latest optical gear. Rival operators China Unicom and China Mobile are also expected to start testing the high-speed backbone technology soon, although they are not as advanced with their trials, vendors told Light Reading. China Unicom, the dominant telco in northern China that is already deploying 40Gbit/s systems, is also likely to start trials by early next year, Lu says. (See NSN Deploys 40G in China.)

And Paul Pan, vice president and head of network systems at NSN, says China's biggest operator, China Mobile, is also eyeing 100G. "From what we have seen, they will jump directly from 10Gbit/s to 100Gbit/s. They won't implement 40Gbit/s," he says.

Huawei's Lu says the China Mobile head office had not yet set out "a clear plan" for trials, but some of the provincial branches "have the requirement for 100G" because of growing data traffic. Because of the current high prices of the new 100Gbit/s kit, and the ongoing 40Gbit/s rollouts, vendors don't expect any major 100Gbit/s deployments until 2013.

"Usually it takes two or three years for Chinese operators to introduce new technologies or new products," says Lu. "We think the market will really start up next year with some small-scale contracts, and maybe some big tenders in 2013."

Further 100G trials
Lu says Huawei has been involved in "many [100Gbit/s] field trials" in recent months, including a test with Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) over 2,400 km and another with Rostelecom over a 1,033km link between Moscow and Samara. (See Rostelecom Trials Huawei's Coherent 100G.)

The vendor has so far won one 100Gbit/s contract in Asia/Pacific, two in the CIS and Middle East region, and three in Europe, says Lu.

In terms of the Asia/Pacific region, NSN's Pan says he has seen interest in 100Gbit/s systems from Taiwan and Hong Kong operators, while the vendor has also reported interest in Europe. Even though it is a long-haul technology, NSN believes it can play a role in metro networks too because of the technology's ability to help drive down transmission costs. (See Fastweb Deploys 100G With NSN and SK Telecom Preps for 100G with NSN.)

— Robert Clark, freelance editor, special to Light Reading

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