Verizon Rethinks Long Haul
SAN DIEGO -- OFC/NFOEC 2009 -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is forming a plan for its next-generation long-haul network, asking vendors to develop a new type of equipment analogous to the packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) it uses in the metro.
Verizon wants to start deploying in 2011 or 2012, but the gear it wants -- combining optical switching, Sonet, and MPLS-TP into a long-haul system -- doesn't exist. So Verizon has been making the rounds of equipment vendors, suggesting the idea to them.
Stuart Elby, Verizon's vice president of network architecture, brought up the topic while speaking on a panel at the The Optical Society (OSA) Executive Forum this morning.
The discussions with equipment vendors are still at a very early stage. "Probably the fourth quarter last year is when we started socializing it," Elby told Light Reading.
Elby indicated he's talked to Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) (singling them out because they happened to be on the panel with him) and several other equipment vendors. The new box has no name yet; Verizon is generically calling it the "long-haul optical transport product."
"We will be building it as a replacement for our existing equipment, but that doesn't say it's a flash cut," Elby says. Rather, the gear will be folded into the network as needed. That's going to define some of the requirements for the box, because it will have to handle the spans of a few thousand kilometers that are already in Verizon's fiber network.
MPLS-TP comes into play because that's how Verizon wants to interconnect its backbone routers. "The analysis there is that the sweet spot... is MPLS-TP, not Ethernet switching," Elby says.
That MPLS-TP requirement is responsible for one of the pieces Verizon wants that's not invented: "There's nobody that's built a terabit MPLS-TP switching chip yet," Elby said.
Verizon's planned long-haul overhaul is a reaction to the bandwidth surge created by FiOS. Verizon found ways of boosting its metro networks to accommodate FiOS, but now the bandwidth push is reaching back into the long haul, where some equipment has been in place for (technology) generations.
Elby expects Verizon's capital spending this year to be flat compared with last year. "But the areas of investment change, and I'll be putting more investment, I think, at least in terms of new components and semiconductors, into the backbone network."
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading