Honing the cutting-edge of networking technology, Comcast is right now demonstrating 100 Gbps (100G) optical transmission using equipment from Nortel Networks that the vendor announced only yesterday (story here).
Comcast and Nortel believe that the demonstration at the 71st Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Meeting is the first field demo of 100G transmission.
Comcast established a 100G connection between its network center in McClean, Va., and Philadelphia, the company’s headquarters and the site of the IETF Meeting, which is being hosted by Comcast.
Unbeknownst to conference attendees, they’ve been using the link for Internet connectivity for the past two days, said Comcast EVP for National Engineering and Technical Operations John Schanz.
During the demo, Comcast is running 10G, 40G and 100G traffic, using different wavelengths on the same fiber.
The trial will run in parallel over the same optical infrastructure that supports a combination of high-definition (HD) video, Internet and voice traffic on Comcast’s 40G national backbone network.
The Nortel system allows 10G, 40G and 100G transport on the same optical fiber. Upgrading from one speed to a higher speed requires swapping in transponders at either end of the fiber; no changes to the optical layer are necessary, Schanz told CED.
Schanz said that Comcast has already moved much of its long-haul infrastructure from 10G to 40G. Moving to 100G will await Nortel’s commercial introduction of 100G linecards, which is not expected until sometime in 2009.
Comcast’s transition to 100G will be a success-based process, Schanz said.
The 100G demonstration is running over Comcast’s existing fiber network. The test network comprises Comcast’s DWDM network with 50 GHz-enhanced Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (eROADM) and photonic components, augmented with prototype 100G interfaces installed in Nortel’s Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 platform.
The 100G cards are based on Nortel’s 40/100G Adaptive Optics Engine, announced yesterday. This technology is based on integrated dispersion compensation and dual-polarization quadrature phase shift keying (DP-QPSK) modulation, the same technology used in Nortel’s present 40G solution.
“Comcast is testing the very future of networking with this 100G network trial. We can only imagine what new innovations may be sparked by the capabilities made possible with this technology,” said Philippe Morin, president of Metro Ethernet Networks at Nortel.
“This test by Comcast is a first step in the broader adoption of 100G,” Morin continued. “Built on Nortel’s 40/100G Adaptive Optics Engine, the 100G solution requires no expensive network reengineering as it can use existing network elements, including in-ground fiber. More importantly, it sets the stage for the coming era of hyperconnectivity, where every device that should connect to the network will connect to the network.”
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