Thursday, June 26, 2008

Comcast reports testing 100 GigE

Comcast today issued a press release stating that it had successfully tested 100 GigE over its backbone network between Philadelphia and McLean, VA using Cisco's 100 GigE interface for its CRS-1 platform. The release also mentions that Comcast followed the specifications for the IEEE 802.3ba standard for 100 Gig Ethernet.

While this makes Comcast one of the first service providers to test a 100 Gbps point-to-point tunnel, I would like to remind my readers that this itself is not a major technological achievement, however colorful the news may read. Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) has existed in backbone networks and the optical world for several years now. So has the Cisco CRS-1 which can route multiple OC-192 (equivalent of 10 Gbps in the optical world) and OC-768 (40 Gbps). In fact Cisco claims that its CRS-1 can route upto 92 Terabits of traffic. I was not aware of a 100 Gbps interface to the CRS-1 before, but I presume that Cisco has it now, at least in prototype.

So carrying 10 optical channels across a backbone network is not something new. What's new about this I presume is that the 10 optical channels are delivered over a single interface which follows the 100 GigE IEEE 802.3 ah standard. Moreover 100 GigE has to my knowledge not been demonstrated before on a WAN, although there are previous studies from Lucent and AT&T showing 100 GigE on a LAN. For those unaware, the IEEE 802.3ba draft deals with how to handle several 10 GigE channels on a Ethernet interface. I am curious about which vendor Comcast worked with for the 100 GigE end interface. Opnext and Hitachi are the two companies having EA-DFB Lasers that can support 100 GigE according to this article.

No comments: