To understand the future of high speed coherent optics, Heavy Reading launched the Coherent Optics Market Leadership Program with industry partners Ciena, Effect Photonics, Infinera and Ribbon. The 2022 project was based on a global network operator survey, conducted in August, that attracted 87 qualified responses.
Heavy Reading reports that network operators are using or evaluating coherent optics for 400G transport services for both internal and external applications, as well as 100G data rates for the metro edge.
Nearly half of operator respondents in Heavy Reading’s survey will have deployed 400G transport services in their network between now and the end of 2023. But what are their top motivations for offering 400G transport services? Globally, the top driver for 400G services by far is infrastructure optimization for internal networks. This driver was selected by more than two-thirds of operators surveyed and well ahead of the second choice, standardization of router connections.
The data suggests that, for the global audience of operators, there are not that many customers currently that require full 400Gbit/s connectivity. Yet, there is value in grooming internal traffic up to 400G for greater efficiency and lower costs (e.g., fewer ports, lower cost per bit, etc.).
Beyond internal infrastructure, however, the drivers vary significantly by region, particularly when separating U.S. respondents from their Rest of World (RoW) counterparts. 57% of U.S.operators surveyed identified hyperscalers (or Internet content providers) as a 400G service driver — a strong showing and second only to internal infrastructure in the U.S. In contrast, just 31% of RoW operators identified Internet content providers as a top driver.
What are your top drivers for 400G wavelength (or optical) transport services?
High launch power optics are widely seen as essential for 400G+ pluggables in telecom applications, which are typically brownfield networks with lots of ROADM nodes. However, when filtering the survey results to include optical specialists only (i.e., those who identify as working in optical transport), higher launch power is the number one requirement, well ahead of remote diagnostics. It is likely that, at this early stage, optical specialists within operators understand the criticality of this particular technical requirement better than their peers.
What advanced coherent DWDM pluggable features or capabilities do you find most beneficial to your network/operations?
Coherent pluggable optics at 100G have use case priorities which vary significantly based on geographic region, particularly when separating U.S. respondents from their RoW counterparts. For the U.S., extending geographic reach is the top use case, followed by 5G backhaul/midhaul and enterprise connectivity. For RoW operators, however, extending geographic reach is not a priority use case.
When considering 100G coherent pluggables, what do you see as the most common use cases?