CE moves toward NGN mainstream

Jessica Scarpati and John C. Tanner
11 Aug 2010

Carrier Ethernet took another step toward the NGN mainstream in July with the ratification of the IEEE 802.3ba standard for both 40G and 100G Ethernet, although the actual signing off of the standard was a formality. A number of vendors have been offering pre-standard 40/100GE solutions for months, and pre-standard trials have been taking place in Japan and the US.

Despite encouraging results and a finalized standard, analysts say it will still take time for 40G and 100G Ethernet to see widespread takeup. That said, however, 40GE may take even longer to catch on. Operators seem to be looking past the 40GE portion of 802.3ba and focusing on 100GE, as endlessly bonding 10G links isn't a long-term solution, and the shelf life of 40G connections remains questionable.

At this year's Interop Tokyo 2010 trade show in June, NTT Communications, Infinera Japan and Ixia Communications provided what they billed as the world's first 100-Gbps Ethernet transmission network "for practical operation" as the backbone network for internet access. NTT Com used the same "ShowNet" network as test bed for equipment interoperability and also to run a 100GE test link over a 50km distance between Makuhari (Chiba) and Otemachi (Tokyo).

While the ShowNet trial results hadn't been released by the time we went to press, NTT Com said it is looking into launching a 100GE platform for its Giga Stream leased-line service.

In the US 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," said Verizon director of Ethernet architecture and design Vincent Alesi. "There is 40G Ethernet, but we're targeting 100G Ethernet because the economics look good there."

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