Engineer internet

First 100Gbps commercially available optical network rolled out by Nortel and Verizon

Nortel yesterday announced that Verizon had implemented the first commercially available 100Gbps network on a 893km link between Paris and Frankfurt.

There are several significant (or at least  I think they are interesting) points to be made regarding this milestone.

First of all Nortel is clearly a leader in Optical technology, as it is in a number of its other areas of business. 100Gbps has been discussed at the last few meetings of the London Internet Exchange (LINX) but largely in terms of the fact that 100Gbps equipment has only been achieving 40Gbps, an interim step.

It is a crying shame that the mismanagement of the business during the earlier parts of the decade resulted in the Chapter 11 situation we now see today and the break up of the business. From Timico’s perspective this is at least focussing minds at Nortel and we have seen a significant improvement in responsiveness and keeness to get things done. Good I suppose.

The 10Gbps standard was ratified in 2002 and, doing a quick trawl the first network rollouts seem to be around 2005 –  this is the case at LINX who tend to be up there amongst the leaders. Truth be told it was probably earlier than this.

The 100Gbps standard has not yet been ratified so there are clearly commercial pressures and advantages to running with the technology for a commercial operator to push ahead with it. Historically this has been 4x the cost for 10x the throughput. So it is clear that the cost of bandwidth is going to continue on a downward trend the more people use it, which they are doing.

This is an interesting wave for ISPs and network operators (surfers) to be riding.  We have to be nimble atop the big rollers making sure that we keep our network costs down quickly enough to match the competitive pricing pressures of the market place.