Speed-as in the ability to send a high level of data per second both in the core of the network and to end users-is the name of the game, and vendors and service providers know it.
There has been a flurry of news lately. The highest profile is that according to a company blog, Google, which last year promised to work with communities to provide throughput 100 times faster than is common today, has chosen Kansas City, Kan., from almost 1,100 submissions for a commercial rollout.
This story at Government Technology has more details. Kansas City and Google, under the Fiber for Communities Project, has signed a development agreement for a 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) network and will join Stanford University, the beta site, as 1 Gbps communities in the program. Goals are to develop next-generation apps, new deployment techniques and to provide an open framework that offers a choice of service providers. The story says that the Google service could be offered to 500,000 people next year. Wayne Rash provides his assessment-he thinks this is an important step-over at CTO Edge.
Google isn't the only company making high-speed news. Verizon said this week that it will deploy 100 Gbps links between Chicago and New York City, Sacramento to Los Angeles and Kansas City, Kan.-the same town enjoying Google's largesse. The story says that the same vendors will be used as in Europe: Optical transport gear will be provided by Ciena Corp. and routers by Juniper. The service will be rolled out "within the coming weeks," the story says.
Ciena was in the news recently as well. The vendor and Internet2 said that they are partnering on a national network upgrade supporting the U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN). The project-undertaken with a stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)-will increase Internet2 bandwidth by 100 Gbps to 8.8 Terabits per second (Tbps). The goals are to better serve 200,000 anchor institutions and high-speed needs of research and educational facilities. Anchor institutions include K-12 schools and community colleges, libraries, and health and public safety organizations.
There is more to the challenge of high-speed data than pure speed. The Google initiative calls for interoperability in which gear from different vendors will be able to work in concert. That's almost as important as the pure speed, since homogeneous networks are highly limiting and, at the end of the day, impractical. In early March, Nokia Siemens Network and Juniper announced successful interoperability testing. The test, conducted at Nokia Siemens ResIP Center in Munich, featured its hiT 7300 dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) with Juniper's T1600 core router using a native 100 Gbps interface.
This material gets very technical very quickly. The bottom line is that all the new devices and more demanding applications demand faster services throughout the network, from the core to the data center and, finally, the premise. The good news is that some of the most powerful service providers and vendors in the world are taking notice and reacting.