Telstra Trials 100G With Nortel

Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) is the latest major network operator to conduct 100-Gbit/s optical transmission trials with equipment from Nortel Networks Ltd. 's Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) division, which is currently up for sale.

And the Australian national carrier is claiming some world firsts from the tests. Telstra says it trialed 100-Gbit/s transmission over a continuous optical link between Sydney and Adelaide of 2,038 kilometers and tested 40-Gbit/s transmission across a 3,370 kilometer looped-back section of its fiber network between the two cities -- "the longest distances ever attempted," according to the carrier.

Both trials used Nortel DWDM gear to "enable unregenerated transmission on Telstra's underlying optical fibre infrastructure" during a two-week period in July.

The trials "demonstrate that our existing network is capable of transporting even larger amounts of network traffic without incurring the cost of major equipment and infrastructure upgrades," noted Michael Rocca, the carrier's Networks and Services Group managing director, in Telstra's news release. "Carriers the world over are looking for the next generation of transmission technology because customer bandwidth needs are quickly surpassing current limits."

The carrier noted it has experienced a tenfold increase in traffic on its major, intercity, long-haul routes, and plans to upgrade its Sydney-to-Melbourne link from 10 Gbit/s to 40 Gbit/s in the near future. Telstra notes that larger volumes of higher-quality online video and enterprise applications such as videoconferencing are two of the main drivers behind the need to increase network capacity.

Nortel's regional VP of Carrier Networks, Anthony McLachlan, took a swipe at Nortel's next-generation optical equipment rivals by noting that "Telstra has given us the opportunity to prove in a real network what others are only talking about."

The trial is another significant 100-Gbit/s reference for Nortel's MEN division, which has already engaged in multiple carrier trials in Europe and North America with operators of all sizes and types, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), cable operator Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Neos Networks , and SURFnet . (See Verizon Adds Nortel to Its 100G Club, Europe's Hot 100G Action, Banverket Picks Nortel 40/100G, Neos, Nortel Try 100G, SURFnet Lights Live 100G Path, and Comcast, Nortel Put 100G to the Test .)

The vendor has also had notable success with its 40-Gbit/s platform and is the market leader, according to Dell'Oro Group . (See Lightower Turns Up Nortel's 40G and Nortel Claims 40G Lead.)

Despite these successes, and the operating profits that it generates, Nortel's MEN division has failed to attract a buyer, though various companies are believed to have considered bidding. (See Tellabs CEO: We Don't Dig MEN and Who's Waving Their Wad at Nortel’s MEN?)

And among the companies linked to a potential move for Nortel's optical assets are some of those challenging Nortel in the race to land commercial 100-Gbit/s system orders. (See Ciena Sending 100GE Live, ADVA Demos 100G, Deutsche Telekom Trials 100G, Global Access Demos 100GigE, 100GigE Scorecard, and Huawei Touts 100 GigE.)

(Find out more about the 100- and 40-Gbit/s market in our report, Who Makes What: 40- & 100-Gbit/s Systems.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet Expo 2009, Light Reading’s ninth conference and exposition covering the hot topic of Carrier Ethernet network technologies and services in North America. To be staged in New York, November 3 & 4, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

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