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Posted by Stephen Hardy

Today's news of Juniper's OEM agreement with IBM puts me in mind of the switch/router vendor's link with Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for an integrated approach to IP over DWDM -- a concept practically owned by Cisco.

I spoke earlier this month to Pathmal Gunawardana, director of business development at NSN, who explained why the combination of NSN and Juniper could beat Cisco at its own telco network game. While he declined to make a feature-to-feature comparison of Juniper's boxes with Cisco's, he was much more willing to suggest that NSN provided the stronger DWDM portfolio.

Specifically, said Gunawardana:

  • NSN has a broader, more scalable DWDM offering. While Cisco's gear is principally targeted at the metro, in Gunawardana's view, NSN can offer metro, long-haul, and ultra-long haul platforms, he said.
  • Since NSN was the market leader in 40-Gbps sales in 2008, the company would be better able than Cisco to leverage volume to create a cost-effective 40-Gbps interface -- not to mention a future 100-Gbps interface.

Speaking of these interfaces, Gunawardana said that the 40-Gbps interface would likely leverage the company's current DPSK offerings, at least initially. The company has targeted what he called "CP-QPSK" -- for "coherent polarized QPSK" -- as the technology of choice for the 100-Gbps interface. CP-QPSK will be similar, if not identical, to the dual-polarization QPSK with coherent detection the OIF is currently working on. Once perfected, the technology would likely be used for 40 Gbps as well, he predicted.

Gunawardana said that both interfaces should be available within the next 18-24 months, although he hinted that the 40-Gbps capability would likely appear in the early part of that window and the 100-Gbps technology toward the end. Since the interface will be integrated into the Juniper hardware, Gunawardana conceded that it could be used with DWDM equipment not from NSN. However, such a pairing would likely fall short of the performance a Juniper/NSN combination would provide, he asserted.

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The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions.

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave, which makes him responsible for the editorial aspects of the Lightwave franchise. A technology journalist since 1982, he once had his job duties described as "gets paid to tick off advertisers ".

Meghan Fuller is senior editor of Lightwave. She has degrees from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and the University of Delaware and is a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.