100GE trials show progress toward NGN

Jessica Scarpati
15 Jul 2010

As carriers try to support a seemingly never-ending spike in bandwidth-hungry and latency-sensitive Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, next-generation networking (NGN) starts to look pretty attractive. Endlessly bonding 10 Gigabit links isn't a long-term solution, and the shelf life of 40 Gigabit connections remains questionable, which is driving operators to instead focus on testing 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), optical transport and IP traffic as they build out their NGN architecture.

Verizon recently announced success in carrying data at 100 Gbps across 7.9 miles -- farther than the anticipated 6.2 miles -- on a portion of its Dallas-area metro Ethernet backbone, using its Switched Ethernet Services (SES) network and dedicated fiber.

"Customer port speeds are increasing to 10G Ethernet, so we have to keep scaling the backbone to keep up with the increasing demand. 100G Ethernet is the next progression in Ethernet," said Verizon Director of Ethernet Architecture and Design Vincent Alesi, addressing why carriers need to test higher speeds now. "There is 40G Ethernet, but we're targeting 100G Ethernet because the economics look good there."

Verizon's Switched Ethernet Services network serves its business and wholesale customers, and wholesale is already straining the Ethernet backbone with wireless backhaul traffic, Alesi said.

"Our metro Ethernet network is experiencing tremendous growth, but it's across multiple lines of business -- enterprise customers, wholesale customers and even small-medium [business] customers," he said. "[Among] wholesale customers, wireless backhaul is exploding right now."

Verizon used its existing Alcatel-Lucent 7450 switches for the trial, saving money by powering them with line cards to place native 100GE traffic on a single fiber, according to the announcement. The carrier's decision to do the test on non-standard equipment also brought down costs, said Nick DelRegno, principal member of Verizon's technical staff.

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