Monday, November 9, 2009

Qwest moving to 100 GbE by 2010

It looks like 100 GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) is coming to market fast (pun intended).

Qwest (NYSE:Q) announced this week that they are now beginning a build-out of 100 GbE that will continue through 2010. From a networking gear perspective, Qwest is using the Alcatel-Lucent's recently announced 100 GbE services card, that will plug into the ALU 7750 Service Router and 7450 Ethernet Service Switch.

Financial terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed.

100 GbE is 10 times faster than the current top-end of Ethernet at 10 GbE, which is common in many carrier networks. Less common is OC-768 which delivers 40 Gbps and according to most of the carriers I talk too, is more expensive than aggregating 4 x 10 GbE links.

That's one of the promises of 100 GbE that I've heard from multiple vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, namely that 100 GbE will be more cost effective than OC-768.

With the current state of the economy, costs are obviously a concern, but carriers still need to grow their networks just to keep up with demand.

"Internet traffic keeps growing, however service providers need to make money," Michael Howard, principal analyst, carrier and data center networks, Infonetics Research said in a statement. "For this, they not only need higher speeds and capacities, they need service flexibility at the same time. We're encouraged to see Qwest integrate Alcatel-Lucent's 100 Gigabit Ethernet with services enablement for the edge and the metro, which also serves as high-speed transport in the core."

Qwest won't be the only carrier with 100 GbE links in 2010. Comcast has announced trials in which I've seen Nortel, Cisco and Juniper participate.

Other big networks are also moving to 100 GbE. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is working with Cienna on 100 GbE. The U.S Department of Energy recently announced it was getting $62 million in stimulus funding to roll out 100 GbE.

2010 sure is looking like a big year for 100 GbE.

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