Verizon moving to 100Gbps network in '09

Company will start deploying 100G network capabilities through major routes in first quarter of 2009

Verizon Business plans to start deploying 100Gbps network capabilities over its major routes at the start of 2009, a move that the company says is a logical progression of its current 40Gbps network.

Verizon Business has long said that it viewed 40G network capability as a mere stepping stone to an eventual 100G network. Fred Briggs, Verizon Business' executive vice president of operations and technology, says the company will deploy 100G network capabilities over all its major routes within the United States, which include routes connecting cities such as New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago, in the first quarter of 2009.

Verizon first tested its 100G capabilities last year when it transmitted a live video feed over 312 miles from Tampa to Miami. Joseph Cook, Verizon Business' vice president for global network engineering, says the 100G test "showed us that we could deploy 100G on routes and not disrupt current wavelengths."

100G networks are seen by many as a logical progression from the current standard of 10G Ethernet. In 2006, the IEEE's Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) voted to pursue 100G Ethernet as its next major Ethernet standard. The HSSG said last summer that it was aiming to have a single standard developed that covered both 40G and 100G speeds by 2010, marking the first time that an Ethernet standards group had agreed to create one standard for two different speeds.

Verizon was the first telecom company to conduct a field trial over a native 100Gbps network. In June 2007, Level 3 finished building  a nonnative 100Gbps network for Internet2. Unlike Verizon's test 100G network, the Internet2 network features 10 10Gbps links that are provisioned on each network segment, and can be scaled up to 100Gbps, depending on network demands.

In addition to beginning its 100G network upgrade, Verizon Business says it will deploy reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADM) that will let the company more efficiently manage its bandwidth by remotely provisioning wavelengths within its dense wavelength division multiplexing rings. Briggs says Verizon Business plans to have ROADM deployed in 18 U.S. markets in the first quarter of 2009.

"It's this technology that will handle Ethernet for us," Briggs says of ROADM. "We will be able to manage it through this device."

Other planned developments for Verizon Business' network in the coming year include:

• The Trans-Pacific Express, Verizon Business' $500 million terabit cable to China, will be operational by the time the 2008 Summer Olympics kicks off on Sept. 6 in Beijing. Briggs says this cable will reduce trans-pacific traffic latency by 10% to 15%, and will open up paths through China for Verizon Business to construct new networks in Asian countries such as India and Vietnam.

• Verizon Business will continue to convert all of its rings to optical mesh technology, which the company says will give it the ability to more quickly restore services during outages. Because optical mesh creates a greater amount of shorter paths over optical rings, it lets the carrier route disrupted traffic through alternate paths with shorter latency than with its traditional SONET rings.

"The optical mesh gives us more consistent latency for customers and helps us protect against multiple failures," Briggs says. "If you cut one path on a SONET ring, then by definition the second path is physically longer, and depending on the route it uses, that may add between 10 to 30 milliseconds of latency. Also, SONET rings are wonderful things, but if you have two failures along a SONET ring then you're down."

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