It seems that equipment manufacturers are thinking along similar lines right now, and what they’re thinking is that 100G is today’s killer technology and tomorrow’s buggy whip. At OFC/NFOEC today Alcatel-Lucent is unveiling a 400Gbps Photonic Service Engine chip aimed first at improving the company’s 100G products but eventually at offering 400G wavelengths.
The PSE matches much of what Ciena announced late last week, although Alcatel-Lucent’s seems to go farther while Ciena’s seems to emphasize programmability. That difference however may be just marketing at this point, and both technologies will evolve a great deal before 400G itself is even really on the table. Right now it’s all about who gets to claim how much 100G marketshare as network operators migrate en-masse over the next few years, and that comes down to the economics. In fact Ciena and Alcatel-Lucent have been grabbing the lions share of announcements thus far and these 400G advances will help cement that reputation, but it’s still early.
Alcatel-Lucent’s PSE announcement is for the chip iself, which will go into the 1830 PSS when the software upgrade and line cards are here in the second half. No doubt other pieces of the puzzle will emerge as the year goes on.