Ciena's third generation of Wavelogic processors supports 400G

March 1, 2012
Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) has launched the third generation of its Wavelogic family of coherent optical processors for high-speed optical transport.

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) has launched the third generation of its Wavelogic family of coherent optical processors for high-speed optical transport.

WaveLogic3 will be the industry’s first coherent technology to scale to 400G. Ciena expects to see the new chipset “in live deployments with many customers this year,” including field trials of the 400-Gbps capability.

To get to 400G, Ciena is using 16-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) and two optical carriers in a single DWDM grid spacing. Company sources told Lightwave Editorial Director Stephen Hardy that the 16-QAM format also will provide cost-effective coherent-based transport in metro/regional applications.

But Ciena says the release is not just about more bandwidth, it’s about enabling networks to be smarter. The Wavelogic 3 chipset, which takes advantage of 32-nm CMOS process technology, is capable of 75 trillion operations per second—that’s 6X the processing power of the previous generation.

On the receive side, Ciena has incorporated soft-decision forward error correction (FEC). This allows Wavelogic 3 to handle twice the amount of polarization mode dispersion (PMD) than its predecessor, which gives greater capacity along the reaches.

The soft FEC is also software-programmable, allowing operators to improve latency by lightening up on FEC, depending on their application needs. “We have tunable latency, if you will,” said Mike Adams, Ciena’s vice president of product and technology marketing.

On the transmit side, Ciena has integrated digital signal processing in the transmitter, which it claims is another industry first. This enables software selection of the modulation scheme; the chip will support DP-QPSK, DP-BPSK (for submarine applications), as well as 16-QAM. Between the programmable modulation and software-adjustablet FEC performance, Ciena says operators can squeeze the best performance from their base of installed fiber.

This is a technology announcement, so product specifications aren’t available. However, Adams says that WaveLogic 3 will support 100 Gbps over distances of “well over 2,500 km” for 90% of the market base of installed fiber without needing Raman amplification. (While other vendors have demonstrated longer distances, they used ultra-low loss optical fiber - see “Cisco delivers 100G over 3000 km without regeneration”). On submarine links, where amplifiers are generally spaced closer together, a Wavelogic 3-enabled system will transmit 100G over 9000 km, he says.

Analysts think the announcement widens Ciena’s lead in the 100G space. “Allowing customers the ability to program the spectral efficiency of 100G coherent optics is a unique feature and not easily duplicated,” said Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. “The ability to double the single carrier capacity of today’s 100G solutions with 16-QAM creates new opportunities for coherent networking in metro and regional applications.”

The announcement comes exactly one year to the day after the previous generation of Wavelogic chipsets was unveiled (see “Ciena details WaveLogic coherent optical processors for 40G/100G”).

Ciena will showcase WaveLogic 3 at OFC/NFOEC, March 4-8 in Los Angles, in booth #2701.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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