"They're not just going to take our 400Gbit/s when it's available the back end of this year and put it through some lab trial or some demo -- they want to deploy it," said Sam Bucci, AlcaLu's president of terrestrial optics, at the annual Technology Symposium AlcaLu put on for analysts and media.
Two customers are even signing memorandums of understanding with AlcaLu to make sure they're the first in their regions to deploy 400Gbit/s, Bucci said. They want to make sure they have bragging rights.
AlcaLu, Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) and Huawei all announced 400Gbit/s optical transport at OFC/NFOEC in March, with AlcaLu and Ciena saying it would appear in products this year. But most officials who spoke with Light Reading at the time expected service providers to wait until at least 2013 to deploy the technology. AlcaLu officials at the Symposium said they hadn't expected 20 customers this soon.
Ciena isn't talking about specific customer numbers, but the company did say in March that it expected at least one customer to run 400Gbit/s live by year's end.
"We have a number of customers excited to test higher-speed coherent technology and eager to deploy 400Gbit/s wavelengths -- and our large, global customers like BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) have already announced their intent to do so. A key reason for this is that the economics associated with higher modulations (like 16 QAM) that allow multiple 100Gbit/s Ethernets, at the economics of a single 100Gbit/s, in their metro/regional networks are proving attractive," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
AlcaLu, Ciena and Huawei appear to be taking the same approach to 400Gbit/s: using two 200Gbit/s carriers to put a 400Gbit/s signal into a 100GHz space on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) grid.
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