Sprint to Scale Core Network to 40G/100G and later 400G with Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform

As part of its Network Vision program, Sprint will be able scale its core network initially to 40G and 100G, and later to 400G b/sec by using Ciena’s 6500 packet optical platform.  The updated network, powered exclusively by Ciena, will enable Sprint to enhance transport network scalability, cost and performance. It will also enable Sprint to support growing demand for wireless and wireline high-speed data service offerings, reaching core network speeds of 40G and 100G today with the ability to scale to 400G and beyond in the future.

Iyad Tarazi, VP of Network Development & Engineering, Sprint, said that with Ciena’s coherent optical technology, “we are able to expand our network to address growing demand for high-speed data services today, with a built-in path to deliver higher-speed data services in the future.”


TELECOM-PRO Comment:  That 400G transmission will be needed soon for core networks is a startling revelation, since 100G is not yet widely deployed.  Ciena had earlier announced that BT (UK) would be a 400G customer.

Alcatel Lucent said in May that 20 customers are ready to deploy its 400Gbit/s Photonic Service Engine based equipment when it’s commercially available at the end of the year.


Huawei’s new 400G DWDM system provides a capacity of up to 20 Tbit/s over a single fiber (C-band) and a transmission distance spanning 1,000 km without electrical regeneration.


Some pundits are even talking 1Terabit optical transmission will be needed soon in the core network!  We find that very hard to believe.  While the core/backbone network increases capacity, there appears to be a huge lag in providing fiber to cell towers and commercial buildings which would result in higher speed mobile backhaul and business communications (Internet and private line/virual private line).  We also think that inter-(telco) office links need to be upgraded to 1G/40G before we see a real need for 100G/400G in the core.  So we believe that upgrading telco backbone networks to 400G and beyond is premature at this time.