It's still early in the sales cycle for 100G optical networks, but Alcatel-Lucent is already setting the stage for 400 gigabit-per-second networks.
The company announced its Photonic Service Engine (PSE), a chip for fiber optic networks that doubles capacity and is four times faster than infrastructure today. Alcatel-Lucent's chip was developed in its Bell Labs research facility.
According to Alcatel-Lucent, the PSE is designed to be the building block that can add capacity to networks without laying more fiber-optic cable in the ground. Indeed, the PSE enables more than 23 terabits of traffic to be transmitted among one optical cable compared to 8.8 terabits in a 100G network.
Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent is showing it can develop network leapfrogs quickly. The 400G chip comes just 20 months after the 100G transport semiconductor arrived from Alcatel-Lucent. The PSE can be deployed in metro, regional and ultra-long haul networks.
Manish Gulyani, vice president of product marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's network group, said the 400G chip will be available later this year. The target market is carriers, application service providers and Internet content players. "We aim to drive more bits at a lower cost over existing fiber networks," said Gulyani.
As part of the launch, Alcatel-Lucent also improved its 100GB chip. According to Gulyani, there are more than 50 customers deploying 100G networks. What about 400G networks? "400G will be slowly adopted in 2013 and beyond," said Gulyani. "We have customers to trial it and operate 400G networks. Anywhere you're running out of capacity this makes sense."