XO to demo 100 Gigabit Ethernet service

Goal of test to show how 100GbE can be delivered using existing network infrastructure

XO Communications will team up with optical vendor Infinera next week to demonstrate how 100 Gigabit Ethernet traffic can be sent over 10 10Gbps wavelengths.

XO, a competitive local exchange carrier, says that it will send a 100GbE signal on a loop from the NXTComm08 convention floor in Las Vegas over its long-haul Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) network to Los Angeles and back.

To conduct this test, XO says it will reply on Infinera's DTN DWDM system to switch and transport the signal from the show floor to XO's DWDM network. Additionally, XO will use a test package developed by testing-equipment vendor Ixia to generate the 100GbE signal that will travel over the network.

The goal of the test is to show how 100GbE can be delivered using existing network infrastructures, XO CTO Randy Nicklas says. The key to sending and receiving 100GbE signals smoothly over multiple 10Gbps wavelengths is using Infinera's Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC)-enabled DTN system that is capable of integrating different optical components and sending them to be reassembled at their destination, he says.

Additionally, Infinera's Bandwidth Virtualization architecture is able to decouple optical bandwidth services from their underlying transport infrastructure. Essentially, Infinera's optical network contains a large "pool" of bandwidth that can be deployed and various speeds and in different protocols, such as Ethernet, SONET/SDH or wavelengths. Thus, the system can subdivide or aggregate wavelengths to be used for services of various speeds and sizes. Infinera says it can support a small number of 10Gbps services over a metro ring and a larger number of 40Gbps services spread out across the country on the same network.

Infinera CTO Drew Perkins says that the products used to conduct this test essentially will be prototypes for 100GbE standards that he expects will be finalized by the IEEE in the near future. Although Perkins emphasized that Infinera's 100GbE transport service is far from a finished product, he noted it is currently based on the IEEE's baseline standard for 100GbE, and he predicted it would closely resemble the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force's final standard.

Other carriers and vendors have tested 100Gbps technology. Last year, Verizon used Alcatel-Lucent's 1625 LambdaXtreme Transport, a next-generation 10Gbps/40Gbps core DWDM system to send a live video feed for over 312 miles from Tampa to Miami over its native 100Gbps optical network. Earlier in the year, Level 3 Communications finished building a nonnative 100Gbps network for the Internet2 project. Unlike Verizon's test 100G network, the Internet2 network has 10 10Gbps links provisioned on each network segment, and can be scaled up to 100Gbps, depending on network demands.

Last month, XO announced it had expanded the reach of its Ethernet services to include more than 500,000 businesses in 75 major metropolitan markets. Currently, the carrier offers Ethernet services at speeds from 10M to 10Gbps through an 18,000-route-mile fiber-optic network.

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