NSN Unveils Unified Optical Platform
NSN says the latest release of its hiT 7300 platform is capable of providing the full "spectrum of reaches, transmission speeds, and applications in metro, regional, long-haul and ultra-long-haul," something that, up to now, has needed two separate systems.
The vendor is convinced that carriers can save money by deploying such a product. “A single solution is the best way to help carriers respond to capex [capital expenditure] and opex [operating expenditure] pressure," stated Bernd Schumacher, head of IP transport at NSN in the company's official announcement. He says that having one systems reduces the cost of "spares, operation and maintenance, training and network management, space and power consumption."
And the hiT 7300 comes with all the optical bells and whistles you'd expect, from support for point-to-point, rings and meshed architectures, cards that support SONET/SDH, Ethernet and storage area networks (SAN) services at a full range of speeds (up to 40 Gbit/s), a planning and configuration tool, the ability to mix CWDM and DWDM on the same fiber, and even a small form factor version for customer premises deployment.
On paper, the move looks good. All carriers are looking for ways to save money and deploy fewer physical systems, while at the same time needing to upgrade their optical networks as video traffic puts pressure on their existing infrastructure.
According to Heavy Reading, the global market for WDM systems (metro, regional, and long-haul) is set to grow from $4.6 billion in 2007 to $6.53 billion in 2012.
But is an all-in-one WDM system what the market's looking for? Heavy Reading's optical analyst Sterling Perrin isn't convinced.
"I'm not sure the ability to do absolutely all distances [on a single platform] is that critical," says the analyst. "Many vendors came at the market from the metro perspective and have added distances to get to 1,000-kilometers' reach today. So, they are covering metro, regional, and part of long-haul. The NSN product is adding ultra-long-haul to this mix, which I don’t think is terribly significant."
Why so? "First, ultra-long-haul [ULH] is a niche application and, second, I think that a vendor having an ability to hit ULH in some [particular] way is of higher interest than the ability to do that in a single platform. I’m also not convinced that the product that proves it for ULH applications is also going to be the best product on the market for access applications. The applications and needs are just very different," says Perrin.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading