Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) has unveiled a new 100-Gbps line card for its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) designed to offer extended reach and better spectral efficiency. The new 100G eXtended Reach (XR) card, which should be available by the end of the month, will be offered as an alternative to Alcatel-Lucent’s existing 100-Gbps capabilities, rather than a replacement.
According to Kevin Drury, director of product marketing, optics at Alcatel-Lucent, the new card can save carriers money by reducing the need for regenerators as well as opening the full 88-wavelength channel capacity of the 1830 PSS in greenfield applications. (How close it could get to 88 wavelengths in brownfield applications would depend on the existing link parameters, he admitted.) The card will support the transmission of 10-, 40-, and 100-Gbps signals for at least 2,000 km without the need for guard bands between multi-rate signals, he asserted in a conversation with Lightwave last week. This represents an improvement of 30% or more from the 1,500 km reach of existing offerings, Drury said.
In addition to adding reach, the more powerful capabilities also will enable the use of 100-Gbps in more complex use cases involving a wider range of fiber types, network architectures, and network elements.
Drury explained that the expanded capabilities come from upgrades of the “electro-optic engine” that powers the card’s 100-Gbps capabilities. Like other 100-Gbps designs that use dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying (DP-QPSK) with coherent detection, the Bell Labs developed electro-optical engine comprises a range of cutting-edge optics and electronics, the latter of which help run algorithms that enable the card to overcome the wide range of signal impairments to which 100-Gbps traffic is vulnerable. Drury pointed directly to improved algorithms as one key to the new capabilities while hinting that other elements may also have received a boost.
Alcatel-Lucent currently has more than 45 customers for the 100-Gbps capabilities of the 1830 PSS – and several of these customers are eagerly awaiting the new XR card to be able to run 100 Gbps on links that wouldn’t support this data rate previously, Drury said. The XR will cost these customers more than the basic card; Drury declined to say by how much.
The multi-rate support capabilities also are important to some customers, judging by a customer quote Alcatel-Lucent supplied in announcing the new card.
“We at Nextgen Networks have deployed the 1830 PSS platform on the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Backhaul Blackspots Program, and were the first to successfully demonstrate 100G coherent optical DWDM and IP in Asia on the Broken Hill link,” Michael Ackland, strategic development manager of the Australian carrier was quoted as saying. “The ability to deploy 10/40/100G on the same platform is of uppermost importance to us as it will keep our network flexible. We are looking forward to the enhanced 100G from Alcatel-Lucent to keep Nextgen Networks’ data transport network the most advanced and innovative in this region.”
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