Cisco fills out metro edge, access with DWDM

Cisco Systems this week further expanded its IP+Optical strategy with a product line designed to accelerate wavelength service delivery to buildings in a metropolitan-area network.

The Cisco ONS 15200 metro dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) line includes optical add/drop multiplexers, amplifiers and filters that are intended to provide wavelength-based access to the metro optical network. They do this by aggregating wavelength and subwavelength services, and then adding or dropping wavelengths to customer premises in single increments.

The new products were announced at the Optical Fiber Conference in Anaheim, California.

The ONS 15200 line brings metro DWDM into Cisco's IP+Optical strategy, which was augmented in February with the ONS 15327 SONET mux. Other components of the IP+Optical array include the ONS 15454 SONET mux, the 12000 Series routers and the 7600 Optical Services Router.

The Cisco ONS 15200 Metro DWDM series consists of three platforms: the ONS 15252, ONS 15201, and ONS 15216. These products were borne of Cisco's acquisition of Qeyton Systems last May.

The ONS 15252 is a 16-channel unit, and the ONS 15201 is a single-channel unit that are used together to deliver wavelength services such as Gigabit Ethernet and OC-48 packet-over-SONET. The ONS 15216 platform provides optical filtering to combine wavelengths launched by Cisco's ONS 15454 and ONS 15327 SONET transport gear.

The 15216 also performs optical add-drop multiplexing to exchange wavelengths on SONET/SDH spans between the ONS 15252/201 and the ONS 15454, optical performance monitoring, and amplification to reach up to 400 km.

Cisco says the market for the ONS 15200 line is service providers that have to decide between laying new fiber or lighting new fiber with traditional DWDM systems, which the company says are "repurposed" long-haul systems deployed in the metro space. These systems are large, cumbersome, and expensive, and they offer little in the way of wavelength and subwavelength aggregation, Cisco says.

This is a thinly veiled reference to Ciena and Nortel Networks, which dominate the long-haul DWDM transport market. The other side of the coin is Cisco does not have a compelling long-haul DWDM story to tell.

Though Cisco says it has doubled sales and tripled its customer base of its ONS 15800 long-haul DWDM system since acquiring Pirelli Systems in 1999, its share of the US$7.2 billion, worldwide DWDM market last year was less than 1 percent, according to Dell'Oro Group of Redwood City, California.

Instead, Cisco will hitch the ONS 15200 onto its success in the metro SONET space with the ONS 15454/15327. Cisco has 500 customers and 25,000 ONS 15454 systems deployed, and has been growing share in the SONET mux market since acquiring Cerent in 1999.

"Cisco will pair the 15252 and the 15454 for a strong SONET/DWDM solution," says market tracker CurrentAnalysis in a recent report on the ONS 15200 launch. "Cisco needed to address a hole in its current metro solution, providing metro DWDM solutions, as well as provide a solution to offer both SONET and wavelength services.

But in metro DWDM specifically, Cisco will face some pure-plays who do not have the long-haul legacy of Nortel or Ciena. They include ONI Systems and Sorrento.

"Currently only ONI supports OC-192 as 10G bit/sec services increasingly push towards the edge," the CurrentAnalysis report states. "Cisco needs to scale up wavelength capacity to at least 32 channels, as well as 10G bit/sec support - both of which are on the drawing board for this year - in order to move the 15252 upmarket to address metro core and regional applications."

The 15200 line costs $36,000 per wavelength and is available now. Cisco claims to have 75 customers already for the products.

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