Report: DWDM No Match for Sonet

Carriers are gradually starting to spend again, but the DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing) market won't be heading upwards with any notable vigor, according to a new report from Insight Research Corp.

Instead, DWDM sales will lag those of Sonet/SDH equipment from now through at least 2008, according to forecasts in "Optical Networks: DWDM and SONET 2003 - 2008."

This isn't to say DWDM sales will drop out of sight -- or that Sonet/SDH is guaranteed to live forever. Thanks to recently developed OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) and OC192 (10 Gbit/s) optical interfaces, routers now can hook directly to DWDM systems and save carriers the cost of optical-to-electrical conversion, the report says. Innovations also help, such as an "optical supervisory channel" that allows DWDM kit to match, at least in part, the much-touted management capabilities of Sonet equipment.

Unfortunately, though, a lack of traffic to justify buying high-speed interfaces in quantity, plus the optical bust of the last two years, have taken the wind out of DWDM research and development. "Contraction at the component level has slowed the wheel of innovation," says Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research. Without further infusion, it's unlikely DWDM gear will develop to the point where carriers will be motivated to swap it in place of existing Sonet gear.

One bright spot in the DWDM market is CWDM (coarse wavelength-division multiplexing), which is likely to be the sole source of growth for the technology in the near term. Indeed, metro deployments of CWDM are the only source of prosperity for optical gear right now, Rosenberg says.

While the Sonet market will return to its pre-boom levels over the next three years, carriers eventually will start to look more critically at Sonet's complexities compared with optical switching. But Sonet won't be widely replaced by DWDM anytime in the next decade.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Physical_Layer 12/5/2012 | 12:13:33 AM
re: Report: DWDM No Match for Sonet Sorry - subject should have read 6 yrs rather than 10.
Physical_Layer 12/5/2012 | 12:13:33 AM
re: Report: DWDM No Match for Sonet Who is really behind this research? Somebody out there actually is trying to suggest there will be nearly an order of magnitude increase in the use $$ volume of SONET gear over the next 5-6yrs? And I suppose that carriers will also have a 10x increase in their capital spending budgets too, right?
single mode figure 12/5/2012 | 12:13:32 AM
re: Report: DWDM No Match for Sonet Who might get the benefit, Alcatel, remember caught in a french suit. They ought to run Alcatel and it's running dogs, out of Plano, back to France, where it belongs.
arch_1 12/5/2012 | 12:13:27 AM
re: Report: DWDM No Match for Sonet Perhaps I'm confused, but I thought that the bulk of SONET/SDH equipment was used to aggregate OC-3 up to higher rates, while DWDM is used to multiplex 2.5 and 10Gbps lambdas. These are complementary technologies for the most part.

The projected SONET/SDH growth still seems far too high. If new equipment follows Moore's law, then the 10x dollar growth in 6 years equates to 40x bandwidth growth in SONET. but sonet growth is constrained at the high end, since OC-48 and above can use DWDM directly, so 40x bandwidth growth translates roughtly into 40x growth in the number of OC-3s in the world. Where does this come from?
old_optical_guy 12/5/2012 | 12:13:22 AM
re: Report: DWDM No Match for Sonet As far as I know DWDM and SONET are not the competiting technologies.
DWDM(Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) techniques may handle Optical Channels of different colours(wavelength) in the same fiber. Generally it can carry 32-64 optical channels in the same fibre.

DWDM can carry 32-64 channels of the SONET, or same number of OTN, or other technologies..

Can someone clarify more about the relevence of this Article....WHY DWDM and SONET ARE COMPETITING TECHNOLOGY..

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