The 100 Gbps Backbone

TelstraClear, New Zealand’s second-largest telecommunications company, with around 400,000 customers, has installed a next-generation 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) optical intercity network, using technology from Ciena.

The data speeds are the fastest ever achieved on an intercity telecommunications network in New Zealand, says TelstraClear Chief Technologist William Lee. TelstraClear’s network will leverage their existing Ciena 40 Gbps gear.

TelstraClear’s existing core network is based on Ciena’s Optical Multiservice Edge (OME) 6500 platform. By simply inserting 100G cards into the OME 6500, TelstraClear is able to deploy 100G wavelengths alongside existing 40G and 10G wavelengths and thereby carry live customer traffic without needing to re-engineer any fibre routes or wavelengths.

“The trials prove that now we can now go up to 100 Gbps and begin engineering solutions for customers based on the availability of those speeds on the core network,” said Lee. “We might not need them at this stage, but the capacity is there as more customers look for ultra fast downloading or when network congestion becomes an issue.”

Ciena is also a core component of the U.S. UCAN optical backbone (pdf), a $62.5 million project approved last week to tie together all 50 states into a terabit fiber backbone.

U.S. UCAN provides a jumpstart in implementing the FCC National Broadband Plan released in March 2010 which recommends the development of a unified network dedicated to community anchor institutions (project summary pdf). It is anticipated to benefit more than 100,000 community anchors in all 50 states initially and eventually all or virtually all anchors, including schools, community colleges, universities, libraries, health institutions, public safety entities, local government, public media and other community centers.

The NTIA requires infrastructure projects to be substantially completed in the first two years of funding (2nd half 2010 through 1st half of 2012), with some work allowed in to the third year. With NTIA funding being awarded in July, 2010, major elements of the upgrade could be online by late 2010, with completion of final components in 2013.

Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) can pack dozens of 10Gbps – 100Gbps links on a single fiber strand by multiplexing in different colors. Some of those 10GigE links can be switched like a phone line, for dedicated (not shared) connections, using gear from Glimmerglass and others.

Optical transmission is even replacing coax for connecting an antenna LNA to the RF receiver (pdf), simplifying maintenance and management. With “true” 4G requiring 100Mbps (mobile) and 1Gbps (static), perhaps 10GigE nodes on utility poles will eventually provide cost/effective “wireless cable” at 100Mbps using 20 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band.

Sorry. I got carried away. Of course everybody loves their cable operator.

Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (HKBN) has a symmetric 1 Gbps residential broadband service priced at HK$199 (US$26 per month). According to the latest figures from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority in Hong Kong, residential broadband penetration in Hong Kong has reached 81.4%, amongst the highest in the world. The carrier reports that demand is driven by the popularity of cloud computing applications and high-definition, interactive multimedia services.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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