Verizon's Wellbrock: 100G Is Needed
Wellbrock says that bandwidth demand isn't the issue for 100 Gbit/s networks. "There are very few routes [in Verizon's network] with less than 100 Gigabits of traffic," he says.
Level 3's principal network architect, Craig Pierantozzi, said in the very next presentation that Level 3 was having a similar issue and has to manage traffic using an "n-by-10G lag" right now.
In other words, both Level 3 and Verizon are meeting their traffic needs by combining multiple 10-Gig wavelengths because that's the only technology available at the right price when the existing networks were built.
Now, Wellbrock notes that vendors and service providers are continuing to solve the complex problems associated with creating faster networks without completely discarding the existing telco infrastructure.
From there, he pointed to today's 100-Gig trial announcement with Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Verizon's previous trials with Nokia Networks and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), as proof points that the carrier can solve specific problems associated with 100-Gig transmission in each case. (See Verizon Adds Nortel to Its 100G Club, Verizon Goes Long(er) With 100-Gig, and Verizon Keeps 100-Gig Promise.)
Wellbrock says Verizon ran the Nortel gear 100 Gbit/s test in Longview, Texas using fiber that had the highest Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) fiber the carrier could find. "The fiber we found was not even being used for 10G, and we ran 100G on top of it," Wellbrock says. "We didn't change the fiber…"
And, while Verizon has been spending steadily on its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, Wellbrock says the backbone is still all about taking costs out of the network. "We spend a lot of money on FiOS because the customer sees it. The end users can really tell the difference," he says. In the backbone, the game is all about keeping costs low, he adds. "This is all infrastructure. This is the enabler."
As an introduction to Wellbrock's talk, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin noted with relief that the bandwidth demand spurring on the optical networking business isn't directly tied to the subprime mortgage crisis or the meltdown happening in the financial markets.
Building on that thought, an audience member asked why the margins for optical networking equipment were still so miserable.
"If you guys want to complain, bring it on," Wellbrock says. He noted that landline losses and competitive pressures are keeping service providers from making the kind of margins they would like to make. At one point he joked that huge enterprise customers sometimes ask, "Ethernet's free, isn't it?"
— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading