Tellabs Migrates Cross-Connections to Optical

Tellabs Operations Inc. this week upped the ante in optical switching with a system for the long-haul core that the company claims is the industry's largest.

The Titan 6700 is designed to migrate Tellabs' existing base of digital cross-connect customers to next-generation intelligent optical networks. The Titan 6700 is capable of supporting 80 million simultaneous Internet calls and enables carriers to manage more than 10 terabits of traffic in its initial release, Tellabs claims.

The switch supports 2,048 redundant OC-48 ports and 512 redundant OC-192s. This is a four-fold density increase over the previous port density leader in optical switching, Tellium's Aurora.

The Titan 6700 also features a 2.5G bit/sec electrical switching fabric that's field-upgradeable to an optical fabric. The switch's optical fabric comes from Calient, a photonic switch maker with which Tellabs has a partnership, and is based on micro-electro-mechanical system - MEMS - technology.

Even after an upgrade to a photonic switch fabric, the Titan 6700 will maintain the electrical capability where necessary, Tellabs says. As networks transition to all-optical architectures, electrical signal regeneration and monitoring still will be needed at the network handoff sites and at select intermediate offices, the company says.

Regardless, the Titan 6700 has the ability to monitor and track signals in the optical domain without performing electrical conversions, Tellabs claims. The switch monitors all dense wave division multiplexing signals in parallel at any point in the network, the company says.

Field trials for the Titan 6700 optical switch are expected to begin in second quarter 2001, with availability in the fourth quarter of 2001. Pricing was not disclosed.

Sprint plans to use the switch as a broadband cross connect that can switch DS-3 links, according to Robert Azzi, Sprint's vice president of engineering. He said the 6700 takes up half the space of the previous equipment, the Alcatel iMTN broadband cross-connect, and costs less per port and saves on power.

He said the switch might be used, for example, to groom DS-3s from SONET rings and terminate them on a voice, ATM or frame relay switch.

"This is in the core of the network, and we need it in only a small number of locations," Azzi says.

Analysts say the Titan 6700 sets new density boundaries, but Tellabs still has its work cut out for it in gaining traction.

"The platform leapfrogs today's density numbers, but faces an extreme challenge of overcoming poor marketing by Tellabs to date, as well as competing with offerings that are already in networks," says market tracker CurrentAnalysis in a recent report. "Tellabs announces its intention behind many competitors that are already building their customer base, and while the offering is incredibly scalable, it is unproven."

Tellabs last week announced interoperability between its Titan 6100 optical transport system and Calient's DiamondWave photonic switch. This interoperability could result in an all-optical add/drop multiplexing node that can remotely configure and provision wavelengths to speed service delivery, Tellabs says.

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