In the past few posts, I've tried to offer a very simplified explanation for the two main paths to 100G and beyond along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. In the optical industry, there is a bias toward the pure 100G wavelength solution. One can see it in discussions of 4x10G products, with some saying that isn't *real* 40G - and similar are made when 100G via bandwidth aggregation is discussed. But in my opinion, such sentiments are influenced more by self interest than by technical merit. If one loves the challenge of higher and higher speeds, 4x10G or 10x10G look like shortcuts, even cheating that ought to be against the rules. But in the end the market decides only on capabilities and price. On the other hand, putting more and more data on a wavelength really is appealing because it makes better and better use of existing infrastructure. Sooner or later, that has to count.
I feel a hybrid solution is what will inevitably emerge. The first products to come out for 100G will surely be the bandwidth aggregation products, because those are easier to design. But 100G waves will also happen and eventually will be the cheaper solution. Then when the next level comes around, say the 1T level, those will then be the piece that is aggregated at first and later conquered by optics in a pure wave. And so on. That's right, I see the future of optics as a huge game of technological leapfrog.
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