September 28, 2004 Paris--Alcatel has upgraded its 1696 Metro Span platform, adding reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexing (ROADM) capability, among other features. The ROADM technology was acquired through the company's partnership with Tropic Networks.
The ROADM functionality allows service providers to remotely provision and reconfigure wavelengths while adding "any-wavelength-to- anywhere" flexibility to their network infrastructure. This ability significantly streamlines their operational expenditures by reducing the number of truck rolls required to upgrade and maintain metro and regional transport networks.
The 1696 Metro Span now also features Wavelength Tracker, an integrated capability, developed by Tropic Networks, that monitors and traces each wavelength at any point in the network. In addition to simplifying remote provisioning and reconfiguration, Wavelength Tracker allows service providers to achieve clear visibility into the activity of individual wavelengths, simplifying network operations and maintenance. When combined with the benefits provided by the Alcatel 1350 management suite, this integrated optical layer management further increases the flexibility of the ROADM, reduces network complexity, and facilitates the delivery of service level agreements on a wavelength basis.
Moreover, the networks can be designed once and provisioned as often as needed, regardless of traffic forecasts. By combining ROADM technology with automatic power balancing, service providers can turn up services quicker and react faster to rapidly evolving market requirements such as increased bandwidth availability to support new video services, without affecting in- service traffic. As a result, the cost of deploying wavelengths in metro optical networks is optimized.
As new wavelengths are added, optical gain equalization ensures that a high-quality signal is maintained by automatically adjusting the transmitted power of all wavelengths along the fiber. This feature, which is embedded in the ROADM, enables enhanced performance from metro to regional distances over 600 km.
"Service providers require ways to scale their network to ensure fast and accurate changes to the network as traffic demands change," stated Sterling Perrin, senior research analyst, Optical Networks at IDC. "With the enhanced Alcatel 1696 Metro Span, carriers can deploy and operate reconfigurable wavelength transmission technology efficiently as their bandwidth demands change."