NSN Makes Optical Advances

Nokia Networks has been hitting the headlines recently for its corporate affairs (funding, ownership, appointments), but behind the scenes, the company is plugging away at new product developments -- and not just in the mobile sector.

The vendor's optical access and transport teams, for example, have been making progress with their next-generation platforms.

For the backbone transport market, NSN announced the commercial availability of its 100Gbit/s optical system running on the company's hiT 7300 platform last week. The vendor's head of transport and core marketing, Jürgen Grabenhofer, told Light Reading at the recent Broadband World Forum event in Paris that it is a single-carrier system that has been built using off-the-shelf components.

The single-carrier attribute is important, as that's the 100Gbit/s capability that carriers appear to really want, and only a handful of announced systems match that particular criterion. (See NSN Unleashes Single-Carrier 100G, Huawei's 100G Is Out the Door and Analyst: AlcaLu's 100G Game-Changer.)

NSN has an early customer for its 100Gbit/s system in the form of Italy's Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB), while Korea's SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) is also building out its next-generation transport network with the vendor. (See Fastweb Deploys 100G With NSN and SK Telecom Preps for 100G with NSN.)

At the very edge of the fixed network, NSN still has work to do. It opted out of the GPON market a few years ago, preferring instead to develop a next-generation optical access (NGOA) system targeted at future deployments. (See Nokia Siemens Dumps on GPON and 'Run Away!' Nokia Siemens Retreats From GPON.)

Grabenhofer says its WDM-PON product, designed to offer 1Gbit/s symmetrical broadband speeds to end users over distances of 100 kilometers with a splitting ratio of up to 1:1,000, has reached the prototype stage and is now waiting for the ecosystem to deliver components that can make WDM-PON economically viable.

That requires "innovation at the component level to achieve the required price points," says Grabenhofer, who adds that NSN has invested in ClariPhy Communications Inc. and Skorpios Technologies Inc. to help speed things along and ensure it has the pipeline it will need for its optical system portfolio. (See Ericsson, NSN Invest in Optical Startup and Nokia Siemens Invests in ClariPhy.)

The NSN man says the vendor is also active within the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) group to help work towards the standards and economies of scale that will be needed for WDM-PON to become commercially viable, which Grabenhofer expects by 2015. (See FSAN Expands GPON Test Party.)

In time he believes WDM-PON can achieve the same price as GPON and enable network operators to use a single access network for multiple applications (residential services, enterprise connectivity, LTE backhaul, and so on). The deployment of such a long-reach access network will also create opex and capex savings for carriers, which will be able to retire local exchanges and aggregation hubs.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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