Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) announced today that they successfully demonstrated a 100Gbit/s connection at the SC08 show a week or two ago, informally joining a rapidly growing 100G club. As expected, much was made of the single wavelength, and indeed this was a great achievement! The industry as a whole is making great strides toward a commercializable 100G technology, although that goal remains pretty far off yet. Right now it’s all at the ‘can we do it?’ stage rather than the ‘can we do it affordably in a production network?’ stage. And the answer there is obviously ‘YES’! Now all we need is some standards and we can talk products.
In this difficult economic environment it is encouraging that R&D like this continues to proceed steadily. Everyone is taking a different approach to this. Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN, news, filings) has concentrated on using 10x10Gbps to do 100G. Others have looked at two 40G waves and making up the difference with a few 10G waves. But of course, purists will always prefer the single wavelength solution that Ciena demonstrated, which is just cleaner: more science and less engineering, with fewer but more expensive parts. It still seems clear that the multiple wavelength approach will be economical first just because it has fewer technological hurdles to jump. But the time will come quickly when 100G on a single wave will be needed to meet the demands of the future.
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