Verizon, Nortel light first commercial 100G wave

John C. Tanner
15 Dec 2009
Daily News

Verizon has become the first telco to commercially deploy 100G optical technology on a live network - and the supplier is Nortel Networks’ soon-to-be-former MEN/optical division.

Verizon deployed a 100G line card on Nortel’s OME 6500 optical platform for an 893-km link between Paris and Frankfurt to aggregate the carrier’s private IP customer traffic, Nortel announced Monday.

The 100G wave runs alongside existing 10G waves on the same fiber using the dual-polarization (DP) QPSK modulation technology Nortel uses for its 40G line cards.

A dozen telcos worldwide have been trialing Nortel’s 100G technology, including Telstra. Verizon – which has been trialing 100G from various vendors since 2007, and Nortel’s 100G tech since October 2008 – is the first carrier to move from trial to full commercial deployment.

100G has been slow to reach commercial status thanks to a number of factors, including overpriced equipment, lack of standardization from industry bodies like the Optical Internetworking Forum and competition from 40G.

Anthony McLachlan, vice-president of Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks Asia division, says that 100G is “at an early stage still” and that 40G will see more traction as operators consolidate their backhaul and metro networks.

“But there are apps where customers have high enough bandwidth needs that they’re better served by 100G on a fiber, which was the case with Verizon, as they had reached fiber exhaust on that particular link,” McLachlan told

Anup Changaroth, Nortel’s MEN product marketing director for Asia, added that upcoming 40G/100G routers announced by major vendors will help drive demand for 100G waves.

“Some router vendors are already shipping 100GE interfaces on their platforms, and we’ll see that drive 100G in the next couple of months,” Changaroth said.

A more significant driver, though, could be cost. Ovum analyst Ron Kline said in a research note that while Verizon and Nortel didn’t disclose the cost of the upgrade, the cost was “less than the cost of ten 10G wavelengths”.

Nortel’s MEN and optical business was sold off to Ciena last month for $769 million. The deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2010.

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