Ciena has boosted switching capacity on its 5430 OTN switch from 3.6 Tbit/s to 15 Tbit/s, such a big increase that it might sound like a technology advancement in search of a real-world use case were it not for the fact that Asian mobile carrier SK Telecom is already deploying the upgraded switch.
The capacity upgrade is part of a series of enhancements to the 5430 that Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) announced earlier this week, and is made possible through the capabilities of the vendor's WaveLogic3 Extreme chipset announced back in February. (See Ciena Boosts 5430 Capacity, Deploys With SK Telecom and Ciena Addresses Rise of Web-Scale Dynamics.)
"The upgrade packs roughly four to five times the capacity available previously, but we're doing it on the same chassis," says Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president of the Global Products Group at Ciena. "There's no need for new gear because we have built that platform for this kind of upgrade."
It's such a large upgrade that it might beg the question of who really needs it. But, the SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) deployment, also announced this week, at least partly answers that question. Also, Locoh-Donou gives submarine cable networks landing stations as one example of a network environment where traffic growth and related stress on the network core is making demand for that type of capacity immediate, but he says there are many other network cases ready for a 15 Tbit/s packet optical switch.
"They [submarine cable operators] are seeing such increases in bandwidth that they have been screaming for this," he says, adding, "When we were starting on this development a couple of years ago, I have to admit I thought it was a bit of a science project, but I'm glad we started then instead of waiting two years because if we didn't have it right now, our customers would be stacking switches."
The 5430, which was launched almost six years ago as one of Ciena's first entries in the converged packet optical market, also is already in more than 1,000 nodes around the world, meaning there is a sizable market opportunity already in place for the upgrade. (See Ciena Catches Packet/Optical Convergence Bug.)
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading