Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Juniper Has Routers For The 100 Gbps WAN

In the ever expanding need for speed, Verizon and Juniper are up to something big. It's 100 Gbps fiber optic connections.

Carriers have been dabbling with 100 Gbps transmission for some time now. It's an order of magnitude above the standard 10 Gbps pipes that are common on long haul networks. There are also 40 Gbps transport systems in use. Now it looks like 100 Gbps is getting ready for deployment. Juniper's contribution is an interface that will handle this bandwidth directly. Currently, carriers have to aggregate multiple links to achieve that speed. Verizon has demonstrated a 111-Gbps channel over 1,040 km.

So, what's all this bandwidth going to be used for? You can pretty much bet it isn't desperately required for telephone calls, email or casual Web browsing. The bandwidth crunch that's upon us is all about video.

If you've ever had the pleasure of editing and exporting movies or other video, you know the feeling of shock and horror that you felt when you first realized that moving and manipulating video files takes minutes and maybe hours, not seconds. I got a taste of it this weekend when I found that the 10 minute movies my digital camera took so easily require long rendering times when you try to do anything with the raw files. For those of us used to working with Web pages, still photos, text and code, the amount of disk space and bandwidth even simple video files can chew up is absolutely astounding.

Now, consider that the entire world is moving not just to video everything but to HD video everything, and you can understand why the telecom carriers and Internet Service Providers tremble at the thought of the Internet going from HTML to HDTV. It's not just an incremental increase in traffic. It's a large and generally unplanned step change.

It's not just Cable broadband and DSL providers that are inundated with video traffic. Wireless carriers are getting their share as the new 3G touchscreen smartphones are bought in significant numbers. Video clips from YouTube just whet the appetite. Now with Slingbox capability on the iPhone as well as laptop computers, people expect to access their satellite receivers and DVRs from anywhere they happen to be. The transition of broadcast TV from analog to digital is truly the tip of the iceberg. The lion's share that's represented by the underwater part of the berg is IP video destined for wireline and wireless broadband transmission.

Little wonder that both WiMAX and LTE networks are going ahead, recession or no recession. Little wonder, too, that Juniper's 100 Gbps is being heralded as not just the solution to today's bandwidth demands, but a stepping stone to Terabit transport channels. Could they be more than a few years away?

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