Upgrading to 100G as easy as swapping out a card

Service provider Lightower Fiber Networks this week said it has successfully tested 100G technology on its current optical network by just changing out line cards.

For four days, the provider sent production network traffic from New York to Boston error-free over a 100G link, the company says.

Lightower uses Nortel’s Optical Multiservice Edge (OME) 6500 platforms at each end of the 600-kilometer fiber-optic lines. Lightower says the devices only required new line cards, replacing the 40G cards with 100G versions.

Nortel’s optical business unit – the Metro Ethernet Networks unit – is being bought by Ciena, which won the auction for the unit with a $769 million bid, as part of the process of dismantling the bankrupt Nortel and splitting up the pieces. Nortel says it has 53 wins for its 40G optical technology.

Earlier this week, Nortel unveiled the 100G technology and announced that Verizon is the first to deploy it, in a live network in Europe connecting the 890 kilometers between Paris and Frankfurt. In that network, the 100G link is there beside 10G links in the same fiber. Nortel emphasizes its ability to provide an easy upgrade path from 10G to 40G and 100G. Its 40G products have only been shipping since last year, so this migration path has been designed into its systems since the beginning.

Lightower serves the Northeast, with services ranging up to 40G for carriers and large enterprise companies. It started offering the high speed earlier this year after an upgrade.

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