Cisco unveils plan, products for optical networks

Cisco unveils plan, products for optical networks

Amid a tough financial environment for service providers, Cisco plans to continue investing in its optical-network equipment line to help carriers and corporations make better use of optical networks.

Cisco unveiled its Complete Optical Multiservice Edge and Transport (COMET) strategy, which calls for the company to enhance its 15000 series of optical equipment and management software to offer more types of interfaces and greater capacity.

The 15000 series spans optical systems from the edge of metropolitan area networks out to long-distance connections between metropolitan areas. As service providers roll out optical connectivity to customers, they need to be able to support more connections and options, said Rob Koslowsky, optical marketing manager at Cisco.

"You never know what service might be requested out of a given floor or a given building," Koslowsky said. Corporate customers are beginning to embrace such options as storage area networks and disaster recovery systems over optical networks, he said.

Optical networks, which send information as light waves over fibres, can send many streams of traffic over a single fibre by breaking them into different wavelengths of light. Service providers and some corporations are turning to the high capacity of optical technology to build fast networks around large metropolitan areas and between cities. At the same time, carriers and corporations are looking eventually to make networks cheaper and simpler by combining different types of traffic -- including data, voice and multimedia and various data services -- over the same infrastructure.

Some carriers claim they have reduced the cost of their long-haul connections by 70 per cent as a result of using all-optical networks, said John Mazur, an analyst at Gartner.

While introducing its COMET strategy on Tuesday, Cisco also expanded its optical portfolio. It unveiled a DWDM (Dense Wave-Division Multiplexing) platform for long-distance transmission -- up to 2000 kilometres -- and enhancements to some metropolitan network equipment. It also updated software for managing a wide range of optical equipment. Enhancements were announced for the Cisco Transport Manager (CTM), the company's software for managing its optical devices and the 15800 DWDM platform for transmitting over long distances. Cisco also announced a new interface for the ONS 15200, a platform for carrying wavelengths from an optical network directly into a corporate facility.

All the products are available now worldwide, Cisco said, although it is yet to disclose pricing.

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