Alcatel-Lucent Debuts 100G Transport Gear

The race for faster networking speeds hit a major milestone this week as Alcatel-Lucent announced the commercial availability of its 100 gigabits per second equipment for telco service providers.

The Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) solution provides a 100G wavelength using coherent technology that can provide transport for up 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles). The new technology marks the beginning of a new era in Internet transport speeds, raising the bar for available bandwidth and capacity.

“We’ve been working for the last few years to build in specialized ASICs that will allow us to offer this solution and help us achieve the right level of economics that will make sense for our customers to deploy,” Sam Bucci, vice president of Terrestrial Networks at Alcatel-Lucent told “This is a single carrier 100G with coherent detection that has been developed in house.”

The Alcatel-Lucent 100G solution is being deployed on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) which is their flagship dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) platform.

Bucci explained that when the speed of a signal is increased from 10 gigabits to 100, the effects of impairments on the signal become an issue. So in order to be able to deal with that, techniques are used to ensure that there isn’t much of a dispersion impact on the signal. That’s where the coherent technology part of the puzzle comes into play, which ensures that the signal is understood.

From a standards perspective, the Alcatel-Lucent solution will adhere to the 100 GbE (gigabit Ethernet) standard for client connections. The actual 100 GbE standard has not yet officially been finalized, though Bucci noted it’s very close. He added that he doesn’t expect there to be any risk for those that deploy the Alcatel-Lucent solution in being not compliant with the finalized standard.

In order for a service provider to actually transport traffic at 100G, the solution will require an Alcatel-Lucent 1830 PSS at both ends of the transmission. Bucci added that the solution is now in trials with over 20 global carriers.

Alcatel-Lucent and others have been talking about 100G for the last few years from an emerging technology perspective. Last year, Alcatel-Lucent announced that it was working on a 100 GbE services card for their 7750 Service Router and 7450 Ethernet Service Switch gear to deliver service for both core and edge networking deployment. That particular 100 GbE module is not yet commercially available. Rival networking vendor Juniper Networks has also announced 100 GbE equipment.

At the end of 2009, Nortel announced that it had successful deployed a 100G for Verizon on a route between Paris and Frankfurt. Nortel’s optical networking assets have since been sold off to Ciena for $769 million.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the networkfor technology professionals.