Cable & Wireless plans large-scale optical switch deployment

APRIL 22, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- The switches, platforms from Glimmerglass with capacities up to 144x144 ports, have been installed first in 10 central offices in the UK.

APRIL 22, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia, and US (C&W; search Lightwave for C&W,) has embarked on the initial phases of a widespread deployment of optical switches in its network. The switches, platforms from Glimmerglass (search Lightwave for Glimmerglass) with capacities up to 144x144 ports , have been installed first in 10 central offices in the UK.

According to Glimmerglass CTO Joe Parker, C&W has installed from two to four switches in each CO. More than 45 Glimmerglass switches have reached the field so far; Parker declined to speculate on the total number of switches C&W would deploy or how long the full deployment will take.

The switches will perform a variety of functions, including bandwidth provision, network monitoring, and rapid network reconfiguration. Parker says that C&W was originally attracted to the technology as a way to minimize truck rolls to deal with troubleshooting. However, the carrier has since decided to expand the role of the switches in reducing opex. For example, the System 500 includes a power monitoring function that enables them to be used for network monitoring. As an ancillary function, if a line encounters problems and requires network reconfiguration, that line can subsequently be switched to remote test equipment for examination. The switches will be managed within C&W through Glimmerglass Console software.

Parker says the deployment represents the first large-scale rollout of all-photonic switches by a carrier. He adds that C&W expects the photonic switches to speed service delivery, reduce SLA penalties, and enable it to win new business.

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