Test & Measurement

100-Gig Demo

8:50 AM -- You didn't think NXTcomm would rev up without someone doing a 100-Gbit/s demo, did you?

XO Communications Inc. will be running one on its live network, sending 100-Gbit/s traffic on a round trip between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) equipment will be moving the light.

Who's the real star of the show, though? Arguably, it's Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA), which is actually going to generate that 100-Gbit/s feed.

"We've got the first 100-Gbit/s traffic generator/traffic analyzer, we think, that will be generating packets wire speed," says Errol Ginsberg, Ixia's chairman.

This is part of the fun whenever a new speed grade comes 'round. It's up to the test-and-measurement folks to build something that actually goes that fast, in order to make testing even possible.

Those boxes aren't easy to build. They're pricey, and they start out scarce. Ixia confirms it's got several 100-Gbit/s generators in existence. But if some lackey -- or some marketing guy -- drops the one at NXTcomm? "They get shot immediately," says Ginsberg.

Now, the traffic starts as 100 Gbit/s, but Infinera is going to split that into 10 lanes of 10 Gbit/s, allowing the data to traverse XO's live network. Avago Technologies Pte. will be supplying the transceivers for the demo.

That division is why XO can run the demo on its 10-Gbit/s infrastructure. In fact, pretty much anybody talking about 100-Gbit/s networking wants to put it on 10-Gbit/s fiber. Verizon ran its 100-Gbit/s test with Alcatel on a 10-Gbit/s network. And OpVista Inc. is taking a divide-and-conquer approach different from Infinera's to get its 100 Gbit/s onto today's fiber. (See Verizon Keeps 100-Gig Promise, OpVista Runs With DMC for 40-Gig, and NXTcomm Preview: Ethernet & 8-Tbit/s.)

Whether any other 100-Gbit/s demos will be at the show depends partly on whether traffic generators can be had. A quick check on Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) reveals it hasn't announced one yet. I have to wonder how many of these Ixia is willing to put in the same convention hall at the same time.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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