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What is the status of 100G transmission speed in optical transport networks?

ACG Research managing partner Eve Griliches offers an update on the development of 100 gigabit per second (100G) transmission speed in optical transport networks (OTN).

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What is the status of 100G transmission speed in optical transport networks (OTN)? What are the technical/economical limitations?

100 gigabit per second (100G) transmission is coming much faster and in fewer generations than the 40G market. There are some production networks with 100G in Verizon's network in Europe using Nortel's 6500 100G coherent technology. Alcatel-Lucent has just announced commercial availability of its single carrier 100G for trial and full availability for late this year, and Huawei will have their version of 100G available by end of this year as well.

The economic limitations are better than expected. We are seeing pricing less than 10G x 10 so far, with an early sweet spot of pricing being 40G x 2. However, long term we do expect 100G to price out at 6.5 x 10G.

There are far fewer technical limitations for 100G as long as coherent technology is being used with PM-QPSK modulation. Expectations are that 100G will go approximately 1,000 km to start and eventually to 1500 to 2000 kilometers, but we don't think that even with coherent technology those distances will really be reached without regeneration. Most 100G applications will work on 10G/40G fiber networks, but if inline DCMs are also deployed on that fiber, the coherent detection will not work as well and will limit the distance. However, most service providers will deploy 100G on fiber they've never used before and have been saving for higher bit rate deployments. Not all have that luxury, but many have saved their best fibers for exactly this time.

For more information see our extended writing on 100G, and our latest Market Impact reports on vendor announcements in this area.

This was last published in June 2010

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