Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has announced the latest edition of its WaveLogic coherent transmission ASIC, the WaveLogic Ai. The device, which Ciena describes as a fully programmable coherent modem, offers the ability to dial transmission rates between 100 Gbps and 400 Gbps in 50-Gbps increments, real-time network performance monitoring, as well as data analytics capabilities. With the addition of future software enhancements, the device will enable what Ciena calls "self-driving networks" that adjust to service requirements and performance parameters automatically.
The WaveLogic AI will support single-carrier 400 Gbps at distances of approximately 300 km, 300 Gbps at 1,000 km, 200 Gbps at 3,000 km, and 100 Gbps at 7,000 km, according to Helen Xenos, director, portfolio solutions marketing at Ciena. This last distance can be stretched to 14,000 km with the right fiber for longer submarine networks, Xenos added. Applications that require higher transmission rates at the reaches described can use multiple carriers, she said.
Ciena is no longer detailing which modulation formats it will use to support these and future performance parameters, according to Xenos, because it frequently doesn't use common formats. However, the device operates at both 35 and 56 GBaud and leverages multidimensional coding. Thanks to the chip's programmability, operators (or, eventually, software) can adjust transmission rates between 100 Gbps and the application's reach-specific top-end rate at increments of 50 Gbps, Xenos added.
Coherent ASICs have long acquired network performance data to help adjust coding levels and improve signal reception. The WaveLogic AI has additional intelligence with enables it to monitor network links for such performance data as noise levels and type and make it available to network operators for planning and analysis purposes. The system's open APIs offer the current access pathway for such data. Xenos said that software enhancements the company will introduce "in the next few months" will also be able to access such data to determine automatically the optimal transmission rate for a given route.
Xenos said she expects trials of line cards with the new ASIC to begin next year; boards with the new device should become available in the second quarter of the year. Global Tier 1 carriers, undersea cable network operators, content providers, data service providers, and research and education network operators have expressed interest in the device's capabilities, she concluded.
"Growth in cloud computing, HD video and IoT have greatly changed the way our customers use and rely on the network," said Glenn Wellbrock, director of optical transport planning at Verizon by way of example via a Ciena press release. "To meet current and future demands, the Verizon network needs to be not only scalable, but also have the intelligence and programmability to monitor, control and respond in real-time to meet user demands. The introduction of Ciena's next-generation WaveLogic platform brings a new paradigm for optical networks and is an important step in our future network evolution."
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