Sprint goes 40Gbps on Tier 1 IP net

Company will use IP over dense wave-division multiplexing

Sprint, with an assist from Cisco and Ciena, is implementing 40Gbps capabilities on its Tier 1 IP network using IP over dense wavelength-division multiplexing technology.

Sprint CIO Kathy Walker says that Sprint will deploy 40Gbps circuits throughout its entire IP core, which will give the carrier more flexibility in scaling its IP network to meet customer demands. Earlier this year, Sprint finished testing its IPoDWDM technology and began producing 40Gbps circuits to be deployed over their IP network. Sprint used Cisco's CRS-1 Carrier Routing System along with the Ciena CoreStream Agility platform to transport the 40Gbps wavelength across its fiber-optic network.

Sprint first began testing Cisco's four-slot CRS-1 system in 2006, when it announced that it wanted to expand the reach of its 40Gbps network to places that only had access to 10Gbps technology. The four-slot CRS-1 routers, which each support up to 320Gbps of total routing capacity, are deployed in more than 25 US cities, Sprint says.

Additionally, Sprint says that IPoDWDM technology will allow it to eventually upgrade to 100Gbps in the future without overhauling their entire IP network infrastructure. 100G networks are seen by many as a logical progression from the current standard of 10G Ethernet. In 2006, the IEEE's Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) voted to pursue 100G Ethernet as its next major Ethernet standard. The HSSG said last summer that it was aiming to have a single standard developed that covered both 40G and 100G speeds by 2010, marking the first time that an Ethernet standards group had agreed to create one standard for two different speeds. Earlier this year, Verizon Business announced that it would start deploying a 100Gbps network over its major routes at the start of 2009.

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