It looks like 2011 will be the year of the mature IP backbone. If telecom networks could be likened to life cycles, 2010 will likely be remembered as the year the IP backbone hit puberty -- suffering through sudden and awkward growth spurts in data traffic, network speeds, services, devices and applications.
Now that they've gotten their footing, service providers are entering 2011 with aggressive plans to upgrade their networks to support and monetize this growth. SearchTelecom.com recently spoke with four Tier 1 operators about their network objectives for 2011. In part one of a two-part series, we discuss the Verizon IP backbone with Ihab Tarazi, vice president for global network planning and engineering at Verizon Business.
Building a bigger IP backbone
Like every Tier 1 network operator, Verizon has an IP backbone that has felt the strain of continuous and dramatic traffic growth related to video content, mobile data, business customers and its consumer fiber to the home (FTTH) broadband service, FiOS.
Verizon will continue to expand its IP backbone in 2011 to scale and support that growth, most notably by upgrading its global backbone from 10 and 40 Gbps to 100 Gbps, Tarazi said.
"That gives you a big step [up] in terms of capacity. And the same technology that we're using for 100G also gives us lower latency and operational improvements in being able to activate the capacity quickly," he said.
Upgrades to Verizon's network switches and fiber optic infrastructure will occur in phases "to support 100G where we need it," Tarazi said. Verizon has chosen Ciena Corp. and Juniper Networks as its primary vendors.
"We definitely consider ourselves first in the globe in deploying it in the optical layer and then most recently at the IP layer," he said. "We already deployed the technology in Europe. We are deploying the technology in the U.S. as we speak, and this is going to continue to be part of our plan for the global IP in the next few years -- 2011 and beyond."
Enhanced IPv6 support on the IP backbone
Over the next year, Verizon will continue to expand its IPv6 support and dual-stack services to enable customers across the globe to connect to its IPv6 network, "regardless of what product they use from us," Tarazi said. IPv6 migration work on the IP backbone began about five years ago, he said.
"We want to provide the same kind capabilities we have on IPv4 today on IPv6," Tarazi said. "Part of that strategy is expanding our ability to support IPv6 for consumers, both wireless as well as broadband consumers like FiOS. That will continue to be a key priority for us. We started a couple of years ago, and 2011 will be a continuation of that focus."