Deshpande: Optics offer convenient bandwidth

Bandwidth should be bought when it is needed. It should take minimal to no advance planning to obtain. And customers should expect more from providers for less as time goes on.

That is the vision of Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks Inc. conveyed during a keynote speech at Networld+Interop on Tuesday. What makes his vision possible is optical networking that can provide hundreds of links on a single fiber at 10Gbps (bits per second) data rates, he said.

"What is going to happen within the next 15 years is that with all this innovation in what is happening in optical networking, the world will start being more and more a global network," Deshpande said.

If they are offered bandwidth in a more convenient manner, customers are more likely to experiment with new WAN (wide area network) applications and develop greater business opportunities, he said.

The landscape right now does not allow for offering bandwidth easily as it takes a long time and customers are usually obligated to sign long-term contracts for bandwidth, Deshpande said. For example, if you want a "big, fat pipe" from Las Vegas to Los Angeles it could take three to six months to obtain, he said.

What largely makes this the current reality is SONET (Synchronous Optical Network Technology), which connects fiber rings together. Rings are the easiest networks to develop and SONET rings were popular for making phone networks.

Carriers have been under pressure to provide greater capacity over SONET networks and, now, 100,000 rings exist, he said. When capacity is needed from, say, Boston to New York, the carrier has to link between eight and 12 rings in order to complete the network, Deshpande said.

Connecting the rings can be time consuming and carriers often want long-term contracts when the work is conducted, he said. Optical networks with switches to direct data traffic, on the other hand, offer flexibility in providing high bandwidth from point to point, Deshpande said. This architecture allows Sycamore to develop networks on the fly and they have been doing this since 1998, he said.

"We are only at the beginning of an entirely new level of optical infrastructure innovation," Deshpande said. "This is will be the backbone technology on the ground and under the ocean."

Networld+Interop continues through Friday.

Sycamore Networks, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-978-250-2900 or on the Web at http://www.sycamorenetworks.com/.

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