Vendors Target the Packet-Optical Core

The packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) segment is approaching a critical point, as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) should be getting close to picking a core vendor.

And what's interesting is that so far, the vendor that might be best positioned to take advantage of the situation is one that Verizon won't likely turn to: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Verizon's requirements, laid out in a recent request for information (RFI), call for a long-haul version of the P-OTS boxes that have been appearing in metro networks: something that combines packet and optical switching, opening the possibility of using fewer router ports in the core. (See Verizon Rethinks Long Haul.)

The concept of a core P-OTS switch is going to be one of the featured topics next week at Light Reading's Packet-Optical Transport Evolution conference, being held in New York.

Verizon calls the box a long-haul OTP and wants to deploy it in 2011 or 2012. Key technologies inside it will include DWDM; OTN and Ethernet switching; and Sonet/SDH support.

The requirement isn't unique among carriers. But Verizon, aside from being big, is unusually vocal about what it wants, popping in at all sorts of conferences to preach OTP. (See Packet Optical Transport Goes for the Long Haul and Packet-Optical Transport Takes Manhattan.)

The vendor that snares Verizon would have some key bragging rights and a leadership position in what should be a strong growth segment for optical networking.

Meanwhile, optical vendors across the board are developing the products that would vie for packet-optical business from Verizon and others. Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Cyan Optics Inc. , and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) would be on that list -- and Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin recently shared some thoughts about a few of the others:

  • Huawei's OSN 8800 is almost tailor-made for an OTP, and some big operators in Europe and Asia are using it, Perrin says. The missing piece here is the packet switch, but that void is being filled: "Huawei's planning to add packet to it, this year in fact, based on customer requirements," Perrin says.

  • The Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) DTN could be considered close as well. "It actually was a long-haul OTP before OTP existed," Perrin says. "A lot of operators like that concept. It wasn't just about the PICs. So now, Infinera needs to scale that up on the packet side of things, but in terms of that type of architecture, they beat everybody to market."

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has announced an optical cross-connect that could be a candidate. The company notably has put Basil Alwan, who's headed its router and Ethernet switching team, in a key position to help craft the future optical portfolio. (See AlcaLu Joins the War for the Optical Core.)

  • Hitachi Communication Technologies America Inc. (Hitachi-CTA) has an upcoming P-OTS box that's intended to be the key to regaining ground in the North American market. (See Hitachi Preps P-OTS Box.) "They've talked to customers here [in North America] and found enough interest that this is where they're going to launch that product. I don't think they're even going after Verizon with that product," he says. "Hitachi has the size that they could make that stick."

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Packet Optical Transport Evolution, a one-day conference for network operators building and planning next-generation optical networks and the services and applications that ride on these networks. To be staged in New York, May 19, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

mplape 12/5/2012 | 4:36:09 PM
re: Vendors Target the Packet-Optical Core

I think the first, but certanly not the only reason is that those two vendors' equipment are metro boxes with sub-terabit bandwidth.  But there are many other reasons that I think would cause a customer to switch.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:36:09 PM
re: Vendors Target the Packet-Optical Core


Verizon already buys Packet/SONET/DWDM gear from both Tellabs and Fujitsu.  What would make them change?



Keebler 12/5/2012 | 4:36:08 PM
re: Vendors Target the Packet-Optical Core

The Tellabs and Fujitsu equipment at Verizon are their metro boxes. What Verizon calls their LH-OTP is a completely different platform. The speeds are higher (100G base), the variety of interfaces are smaller, and the switch fabrics are much larger (multi-terabits per second).

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