Cisco aims for large share of Verizon metro contract with new optical transport platform, line cards

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has announced additions to its Network Convergence System (NCS) 4000 family that it hopes will earn it the lion's share of Verizon's 100-Gbps metro network upgrade business. The new gear includes the NCS 4200 platform family with new circuit emulation capabilities as well as universal line card for DWDM, Optical Transport Network (OTN), and packet switching functionality based on a 400-Gbps fabric. The company also announced a 200-Gbps "cross-ponder" card for its NCS 2000 line.

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has announced additions to its Network Convergence System (NCS) 4000 family that it hopes will earn it the lion's share of Verizon's 100-Gbps metro network upgrade business. The new gear includes the NCS 4200 platform family with new circuit emulation capabilities as well as universal line card for DWDM, Optical Transport Network (OTN), and packet switching functionality based on a 400-Gbps fabric. The company also announced a 200-Gbps "cross-ponder" card for its NCS 2000 line.

Verizon announced during OFC 2015 in March 2015 that it had selected Cisco and Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN) to supply packet-optical transport systems capable of 100-Gbps transmission for its U.S. metro networks (see "Verizon confirms Ciena, Cisco to supply U.S. 100-Gbps metro network gear"). Ciena unveiled the platform it plans to offer Verizon last week (see "Ciena addresses terabit networks with 6500 T-Series Packet-Optical Platform"). Cisco has now countered with a look at its entrant in the Verizon sweepstakes. The NCS 4200 line adds the circuit emulation capability Verizon sought for its requirements that Cisco's portfolio previously had lacked, said Greg Smith, senior marketing manager at the systems house. The new feature set enables legacy circuit-based services to be transported over packet-based MPLS network infrastructure, enabling a smooth migration from legacy infrastructures and services alongside traffic aggregation.

Smith asserted that Cisco leads the market in system density. The 4200 family initially will comprise two systems. The 3RU NCS 4206 will offer six slots interface module slots, two Route Switch Processor (RSP) slots, and two power slots. The 7RU NCS 4216 will feature 16 interface module slots, two RSP slots, and three power slots. The 4216 will support up to 28x OC-48 (1344 STS or 70Gbps) in its 7RU chassis, Cisco says. The company's end-to-end management platform enables easy service provisioning and rapid roll out, Smith added.

The new universal line card for the NCS 4009 and NCS 4016 also could be of potential interest to Verizon. The software-configurable card doubles packet fabric capacity to 400 Gbps over the previous card to support OTN, packet, MPLS, and coherent DWDM services. The new card will expand the NCS 4009 system's chassis capacity to 3.6 Tbps and the NCS 4016 capacity to 6.4 Tbps. It will support a variety of line-side interfaces, including 100, 150, and 200 Gbps via CFP2 optics. It also will help enable multi-chassis operation – an area in which Ciena has more experience than Ciena, Smith asserted.

With both of Verizon's 100G metro suppliers nearing readiness to ship deployable products, the battle will now be fully engaged for order share. Meanwhile, Smith said that other operators have shown significant interest in the enhancements to the NCS 4200 portfolio as well.

Meanwhile, the NCS 2000 line will see the addition of 400-Gbps line side and client side line card capacity as well. The XPonder line card will offer a mix of grey optics, DWDM, OTN and packet services support.

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