Making the leap to 100G at the packet edge

Ulrich Kohn
Man leaping over broken bridge

We’ve seen tremendous progress in DSL and microwave technology for high-bandwidth transmission. Both domains achieved high speeds by leveraging very advanced modulation technologies and by utilizing more spectrum and higher frequencies. Today, Gbit/s transmission over copper cable is possible by using a broad 200MHz spectrum in combination with vectoring and a very advanced modulation scheme. Similarly, microwave radio systems utilizing 2.5GHz spectral width in the E-band can even achieve 10Gbit/s bandwidth, albeit at a significantly higher price point. 

Today’s enterprises and mobile networks, however, are asking for even more bandwidth. Multi-tenant business buildings are aiming for 100Gbit/s access capacity. This capacity is also required at macro-cell sites that are aggregating traffic from many small cells. There are also increasing numbers of enterprise customers asking for 100Gbit/s connectivity for fast access to their applications and data hosted somewhere in the cloud.

Bandwidth graph

Fiber is the only technology that can provide such capacity, and the latest packet edge demarcation technology offers a way to efficiently proceed from the currently applied 10Gbit/s connectivity bandwidth to the much higher valued 100Gbit/s level. But faster must not mean bigger and hotter. The art of innovation lies in making improvements while keeping the space and power footprint at a level that supports an easy upgrade. What’s more, the way that faster devices are managed and operated should be exactly the same as with lower speeds. Proven processes must still be used; additional complexity cannot be tolerated. 

Metro edge diagram

At ADVA, we have many years of experience with efficient operation of Carrier Ethernet networks. We used that experience and the requirements above to design our latest metro edge portfolio FSP 150-XG400 Series. We’ve delivered a family of highly compact devices for 100Gbit/s demarcation, multi-tenant pre-aggregation and metro aggregation. This is the first product that is MEF 3.0-certified at 100Gbit/s and which provides OAM capabilities such as service activation testing at full line-rate. Customer can easily deploy, activate, and monitor 100Gbit/s services, just as they do today for lower speeds.

Don’t get me wrong. DSL and microwave technology will continue to connect sites in the absence of fiber. But when bandwidth requirements exceed 10Gbit/s, there really is no alternative to fiber. And if fiber is available, then so is the ideal demarcation and aggregation technology. Our FSP 150-XG400 Series has been designed to scale networks with ease – something we’ve had great success with in the past when we moved from 100Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s and then from 1Gbit/s to 10Gbit/s. Those experiences have given us a wealth of knowledge and expertise that we’ve been able to harness when engineering our newest products.

Ulrich Kohn

Related articles