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100G and Beyond Begins With Cisco Coherent Optical Technology

The Visual Networking Index predicts we’re going to hit nearly a zettabyte of traffic by 2015. Applications such as video and cloud services are consuming bandwidth on the network to the point that 10 Gbps infrastructure is insufficient. Without question, 100 Gbps technology in the data center, network core and edge, and transport is a key enabler to remove bandwidth constraints. Cisco is leading the industry in 100Gbps technology across network architecture, and two major acquisitions recently in the 100 Gbps optical component space drive innovation, reduce costs, and improve performance for our customers.

The first acquisition was CoreOptics, a Digital Signal Processing solution designer which was completed in 2010. CoreOptics provides silicon technology to deliver 100 Gbps coherent optical signals on existing (10 Gbps) fiber infrastructure. This means customers can upgrade to 100 Gbps and beyond without incurring tremendous costs. They can do this regardless if their existing fiber network is Cisco, Alcatel, or Nortel/Ciena. It’s the best 100Gbps DWDM solution in the industry with ultra long haul distances (up to 3000 km, as validated by EANTC) and highest density (3x the competition). Even better, we’ve already shown that it’s capable of taking transmission to 400 Gbps and 1 Tbps super-channels in the future.

The second acquisition, Lightwire, is a silicon photonics company with technology to enable cost-effective, very high-speed optical interconnects using CMOS-based silicon photonic optical transceivers. In non-technical terms, “CMOS” (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) is the industry standard for manufacturing chips without need for exotic materials or processes. This means lower power consumption, higher densities, and lower costs, all of which are critical to reducing the operational cost and carbon footprint of data centers as they scale to 100 Gbps and beyond. With this technology in-house, the advanced silicon optical technology can be utilized across our entire product portfolio.

Our customers are very positive. We’ve announced a number of successful trials in our long-haul DWDM solution, including US Signal, Lumos, and SURFnet. Look for more to be coming soon!

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The Real (Networking) Stars of Los Angeles

Cisco 100 Gigabit  Ethernet @ OFC/NFOEC 2011Early this month the stars in Los Angeles weren’t walking the Red Carpet, nor Tweeting about #winning, nor trashing their dressing room. Instead they were on the blue carpet of the Los Angeles Convention Center at the OFC/NFOEC 2011 show. A few themes clearly stood out regarding the challenges faced by network operators trying to address the bandwidth growth driven by video and collaboration technologies:

  1. Investment Protection: The relentless need to optimize infrastructure investments
  2. MPLS-TP:  Deployment of packet-based technologies for future transport networks
  3. Interoperability: Why scaling to 100 Gig in an interoperable manner will be critical
  4. Optical Component Innovation: How coherent optical technology, flexible spectrum and component modules will be leveraged in future optical networks

Investment Protection: As providers continue to expand their converged backbone transport networks, they are carefully scrutinizing expenses. Bandwidth growth is driving the expansion and various technology approaches are being discussed to tackle it: efficient wavelength optimization, optical switching, optical bypass, packet switching, packet bypass, label switching and others. Some implementations focus on creating new platforms for each technology function. An ideal approach conserves existing investments without compromising performance. For example, label switching is a function that is fundamental to the core and is an easy, incremental deployment within established platforms. Adding this capability to established platforms makes best use of existing infrastructure and avoids new qualification cycles.

MPLS-TP:  Today MPLS is evolving the transport architecture with MPLS-TP and recently implemented in Cisco’s new Carrier Packet Transport (CPT) platform. The CPT attracted the interest of many customers, and we heard a number of positive comments at the event:
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