Bell done: Nokia delivers super-speedy 100Gbps links fresh from the Labs

500Gbps silicon drives next-gen optical networking systems

Nokia has pushed out the first high-capacity optical systems it has introduced since it absorbed Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs Electro-Optic Innovations – the latter being the source of the underlying technologies we're talking about today.

Let's start down at the silicon. The PSE 2 (photonic service engine) is the home-grown ASIC driving the strategy. It's a 28nm device that provides 500Gbps capacity per chip and offers seven modulation settings to balance capacity versus reach.

Its predecessors of just five or six years ago, explains head of optical marketing for Nokia Kyle Hollasch, were the genesis of 100Gbps WDWM systems.

“Individual wavelengths very quickly went from 10Gbps, with a brief stop at 40Gbps, to 100Gbps,” he said. “The type of customer that connected to those transport networks, they were predominantly 10Gbps clients.”

Now, instead of 10Gbps customers being multiplexed up to 100Gbps links, it is data centres that want interconnect and operators confronted with the world's insatiable appetite for bandwidth who are driving the demand for 100Gbps connections.

“Core routers now have very high capacity per slot. The only efficient way to get the capacity in and out of the box is 100Gbps,” he said.

“Whether it's the [service provider's] network, or the business services where the SP is providing services to Internet content providers, cloud providers and large enterprises – 100Gbps is now the handoff. That's a huge shift.”

Hence the PSE 2: Nokia's fourth generation of coherent optical silicon, and the second generation of programmable coherent silicon.

The PSE 2 can run up to 200Gbps wavelengths, and the aim is to push that out to long-distance trunk networking rather than the current metro distances* to which that capacity is deployed.

On 2,000km runs, he said, systems can now be expanded from the current 10Tbps capacity (ten 100 Gbps line cards) to 20Tbps capacity.

Links at 100Gbps get extra range out of the PSE 2-based systems as well – up to around 3,500km, which covers a lot of submarine applications.

“With new modulation formats, we can achieve 5,000km and above”, Hollasch said.

The chipset is available in two versions: PSE-2 Super Coherent (PSE-2s) and the PSE-2 Compact (PSE-2c). PSE-2s-based systems will support either the TDM-based Optical Transport Network (OTN) specs (for private line services) or Ethernet/MPLS/IP services.

The PSE-2s also cuts the per-bit-per-km system cost, and consumes 50 per cent less power than its predecessor. The lower power PSE-2c is optimised for 100Gbps applications (such as metro networks and data centre links) and cuts power by 66 per cent, allowing Nokia to build smaller line cards.

The other way Nokia has squeezed more capacity onto the fibre is to make use of L-band optical spectrum in addition to the more common C-band (1330nm to 1550nm).

The L-band spectrum is on the wavelengths 1565-1625nm. Pressing that into service doubles the number of available wavelengths – from 96 to 192.

Systems and line cards

The key platform carrying the PSE-2s chip is the PSS-24x switching platform. It delivers up to 9.6 Tbps in a half-rack, 24-slot box running 400Gbps per slot, and Hollasch said there's a roadmap to 1Tbps per slot for 24Tbps per chassis.

The pitch, he said, is increased capacity with lower power and 50 per cent less space for a given configuration.

The switch platform is to go general-availability midyear, with customer trials happening now, and further optical transport network and packet line cards will ship early in 2017.

For existing 1830 PSS customers, there's the 1830 PSS 500G DWDM Muxponder line card, which Hollasch said is available now for the 600 global customers of the 1830 PSS kit. ®

* Typically less than 200km and/or within less than 10ms round-trip time

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