Transmode launches "Pluggable Transponder" solution

22 July 2003 Stockholm Lightwave Europe -- Transmode Systems AB has devised a WDM solution that it says will redefine the price/performance benchmark for Metro Access applications.

22 July 2003 Stockholm -- Transmode Systems AB has devised a WDM solution that it says will redefine the price/performance benchmark for Metro Access applications.

The Pluggable Transponder, which is protected by IPR, is a new concept in optical networking, representing a technology disconnect that has the potential to revolutionise how Metro Access networks are built, say company representatives.

The Pluggable Transponder collapses the functionality of Transmode's existing subrack-based transponder into a pluggable, standards-based form-factor, providing a high level of functionality in a device costing little more than today's CWDM GBIC or SFP devices.

As with standard GBICs, the Pluggable Transponder is plugged directly into the WAN port of devices such as Layer 2 switches. However, that is where the similarity ends.

"To date, service providers have been unwilling to deploy devices such as CWDM GBICs due to the network management issues these products present," said Isaac Olasoko, Transmode's CEO.

Unlike standard GBICs, the Pluggable Transponder is part of an end-to-end networking solution that can be managed all the way to the client port, providing a new optical demarcation point on the customer premises. This feature makes it highly suitable for deployment by Service Providers for the delivery of managed services.

"Whilst GBICs can prove to be a viable alternative to external transponder-based solutions for Enterprise applications, Service Providers wish to have end-to-end control of the transmission domain from within the optical-layer management system," said Olasoko. "The Pluggable Transponder allows them to achieve this whilst lowering the cost of deploying new services."

Another key advantage of the Pluggable Transponder is the flexibility it provides.

"Today's GBIC solutions are being deployed for Ethernet connectivity between locations in a metro area, usually by Enterprises leasing dark fibre," added Michael Crossey, Transmode's VP of Marketing and Business Development.

"Service Providers will want to offer Metro Ethernet as part of a broader portfolio of services, including storage connectivity and business continuity applications. The Transponder works seamlessly with its standalone transponder-based solutions. It can also be used in conjunction with our CWDM amplifiers and Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers."

Although Transmode's initial focus for the Pluggable Transponder is the Ethernet segment, over time it expects the concept to be embraced by other players such as storage system vendors and Next-Gen SONET/SDH platform manufacturers. Transmode will be in a prime position to capitalise on the growing trend towards integration of WDM technology on an ever-increasing range of products.

Transmode's Pluggable Transponder is currently undergoing interoperability testing with a leading Ethernet switch vendor. The product will become commercially available in the Q4 2003 timeframe.

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