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Verizon deploys Ciena’s new 6500 T-Series platform

Ciena has developed a higher-density version of its flagship 6500 packet-optical switching platform, which is already being deployed by Verizon as part of the US carrier’s 100G overhaul of its metro network.

The new platform, the 6500 T-Series, takes optical switching to the next level. Supporting one terabit of switching capacity per slot, it will be able scale up to 24Tb/s of capacity in a single chassis, and more than 100Tb/s in a multi-chassis configuration.

The platform is designed to address the rising demand for 100G in the metro, allowing operators to pack lower-speed services into 100G wavelengths in the most efficient manner.

The half-rack, 12-slot 6500-T12 is available now and is already being deployed by Verizon. This version, which initially supports 500G of switching capacity per slot and 6Tb/s per shelf, will be featured on Ciena’s booth at OFC next week in Anaheim, California.

The 24-slot Ciena 6500-T24, a full-height chassis that will support one terabit per slot, is planned for later this year. The 6500-T24 initially delivers 500G of switching capacity per slot and 12Tb/s per shelf. Ciena isn't ready to say when the terabit-per-slot switching capacity will become available.

The new platform builds on the heritage of the 6500, providing the same capabilities but in a much reduced space, power and footprint: 60 per cent space reduction, 44 per cent power reduction, based on the 6Tb/s configuration compared with the current generation 6500 family, according to Mervyn Kelly, EMEA marketing director for Ciena.

The 6500 T-Series is based on the WaveLogic 3 Nano chipset that Ciena announced last year, which is optimised for metro networks where power and space are at a premium (see Ciena debuts chips, architecture for a web-scale world).

Verizon was one of the first to identify the 100G requirement in its metro network, and issued a public RFP that was awarded to Cisco and Ciena about a year ago.

“We saw this [need] first in the US with Verizon, with their metro RFP,” said Kelly. They saw exactly the same trends that we did. Luckily we were already building that platform, so there was a good alignment of requirements there.”

Verizon is deploying a mix of 6500 platforms, using existing members of the 6500 product family at small-medium sites and the new T-Series at the larger metro switching sites.

Ciena’s Mervyn Kelly anticipates that other large service providers will have similar needs for large switching sites in their key metro points of presence as their network becomes dominated by 100G. Around Greater London, for example, there are more than 300 data centres; and that will drive the need for 100G packet-optical switching, he says.

Also as part of this announcement, Ciena is adding greater levels of programmability to its entire 6500 product family, by adding open API support, and the ability to test and fine tune applications in its virtual networking environment of Ciena’s Emulation Cloud.

As an example, if a third party company want to write an app to request a bigger OTN circuit from the 6500 when they’re doing data centre backup, then they could do it automatically through the open API.

Furthermore, Ciena is also integrating the 6500 product family into its Blue Planet software, enabling service providers to automate services – from creation through orchestration and delivery – across both physical and virtual domains as well as multi-vendor environments.

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