Fiber Capacity and Speeds: Up, Up and Away

Carl Weinschenk

The demand for fiber continues to grow, in a variety of venues.

I touched on this last week in a post that discussed the sudden market interest in the KDL, Alpheus Communications and Fibertech Networks. This week, Spread Networks announced the launch of an 825-mile private dark fiber network between New York City and Chicago.

Another sign of better times for fiber was reported in Connected Planet. The site said that Verizon has decided to move to 100-gigabit Ethernet in its metropolitan-area switched Ethernet services. The story says that Alcatel-Lucent, which makes the carrier's switches, will have them ready in September.

That move follows testing by the carrier June 14-18 in Dallas. Verizon used Alcatel-Lucent ESS gear and GE service interface cards to send 100-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) traffic through the network. The release offers information on the configuration of the tests and the basic results.

The news of the Verizon use of the proprietary Alcatel-Lucent gear broke, perhaps a bit ironically, as a standard for trafficking data at 100 Gbps was announced. The Verizon/Alcatel-Lucent approach uses 10 wavelengths, each running at 10 Gbps, while the new standard reaches 100 Gbps using four wavelengths loaded to 25 Gbps.

The new standard, which actually has two speed options, has been in going through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) mill for almost three years. Enterprise Networking Planet says that IEEE P802.3ba is aimed at 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps speeds. The nature of the achievement becomes clear when it is juxtaposed against the speed of the old standard, which was a mere 10 Gbps.

The story says that the 40 Gbps element is mostly aimed at servers, while the 100 Gbps functionality is intended for core networking needs. The story says that pre-standard versions-including one from Verizon vendor Alcatel-Lucent-already are vying in the marketplace. For now, the story says, the poor economy has led to the shelving of a certification project.

The data explosion is raising the wireless and wired boats. The demand for data shows no sign of slowing, so the tide should continue to rise well into the future.

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