Verizon to Deploy 100G Ethernet Backbone in Europe

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Verizon Business plans to set up a 100-Gigabit Ethernet link between Paris and Frankfurt on its European backbone network, taking an early step into the next generation of Ethernet technologies.

The 100G Ethernet connection between Juniper Networks routers will be able to send 100G bps (bits per second) of traffic on a single wavelength of light, using the fiber already in place on Verizon's network. The link will use an optical transport component from Ciena, according to Verizon, which announced its plans on Thursday.

The standard for 100G Ethernet, called IEEE 802.3ba, was ratified earlier this year. It marks a tenfold jump in speed from the fastest previous standard, 10-Gigabit Ethernet, which is widely deployed in network backbones and beginning to trickle down to server interfaces. As the amount of network traffic from video and other applications rapidly increases, carriers and some specialized enterprises have been demanding a faster system for backbone networks. The 802.3ba standard also defines a 40G bps specification.

Verizon Business already has a 100-gigabit optical link, which does not use Ethernet, on the Paris-to-Frankfurt leg of the European backbone. Both of these links are designed to carry combined traffic from multiple Verizon Business customers, but as traffic and network capacity grow, service providers eventually could offer a dedicated 100G Ethernet link to one large enterprise. A single fiber can carry traffic on multiple wavelengths, and many fibers are included in a typical backbone cable.

Also on Thursday, the Internet2 organization announced it would add a 100G Ethernet backbone to its network that links universities and other research institutions across the U.S. Along with adding the faster backbone, Internet2 will expand its reach to include schools, libraries, health centers, public safety agencies and other "community anchors" across the U.S.

Internet2 will start deploying 100G Ethernet in the coming weeks and install it in one region at a time, planning to have it built out nationwide by 2013. Like Verizon, Internet2 will use Juniper T Series core routers, but Internet2 has not yet announced the source of its new optical components.

Other major router makers, including Brocade Communications and Alcatel-Lucent, have also announced or shipped 100G Ethernet interfaces. Cisco Systems offers 100G Ethernet on its CRS-3 carrier core router but has not identified any customers with specific plans to deploy the technology.

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