200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

Next Generation Communications Blog

200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

By: Earl Kennedy, IP Transport Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Optical network operators have already made the move to 100G. But skyrocketing bandwidth demand means many are already pondering what’s next. With a 200G optical solution hitting the market, you probably have questions about when to move to 200G optical – and what you need to know when you make that move.

200G Optical: Move to Metro Creates Demand

If you are like most optical network operators, you are looking to move content closer to your end users. This is a good option to meet skyrocketing demand and relieve some of the pressure on today’s networks. While this is a practical solution, it will have consequences — dramatically shifting traffic from the optical core to the metro network. 


As a result, you will need to bring long haul-type efficiencies to your metro. Agility, scalability, and software configurability will become increasingly critical.

Suddenly the question isn’t whether the market will go beyond 100G, but how soon. The 100G networks that were practically unimaginable four years ago already appear to have a finite shelf life.

Beyond 100G: What’s Next

When transitioning beyond 100G, there are a few considerations. Now that a 200G solution is commercially available and deployed by some operators, it’s an interesting option to consider. It gives you an immediate doubling in your capacity – so it’s very attractive purely to accommodate demand when and as you need it. But what are some of the other key ingredients you will want to see in your solution? It’s simple. You will want your solution to be:

  • Agile
  • Scalable
  • SDN-ready

And of course, it needs to be cost-efficient in order to support your return on investment.

200G Optical Networks: Critical Features

Let’s take a look at why each of these ingredients is so critical to deploying a successful 200G optical solution.


Today network operators are looking for solutions that optimize IP and optical networking equipment to reduce layers and complexity.  They want one platform that collapses multiple networks into a single dynamic and reconfigurable multiservice, multilayer infrastructure that is efficient and agile.  This will allow providers to support rapid delivery of high-performance, on-demand, application-driven network services. 

Operators want network solutions that deliver multi-technology, multiservice architectures that serve as a single platform for applications such as business wholesale, mobile backhaul, IPTV, datacenter connectivity and enterprise vertical applications.


Metro networks are forecasted to grow 560% in total traffic by the end of 2017. In order to meet that demand, networks deployed today will have to be scalable.  The ability of a network to scale and aggregate wavelengths from 10G to 100G to 200G and beyond is of the utmost importance.  It’s essential to meet the demand for dynamic services economically with terabit-scale and multilayer networking technologies in order to deliver a broad set of services at the most economical layer. 

A flexible “metro core” architecture that supports network convergence with minimal impact to service operations or organizations is a vital part of moving metro networks forward. A scalable solution provides investment protection with the ability to double network capacity when you need it without incurring the upfront cost of buying twice the capacity you require today.


Networks will need to address unpredictable and dynamic traffic demands as the number and complexity of services continue to grow.  An optical network solution that is software configurable simplifies operations, increases service velocity and automates provisioning.  Software defined networking (SDN) and a control plane automate the process of activating optical services. 

SDN offers the promise of greater network agility and efficiency through multilayer resource discovery and control as well as dynamic path selection.  Based on policy driven provisioning, SDN simplifies and automates service creation resulting in rapid service innovation and delivery.  Solutions that are software configurable lay the framework needed to implement SDN in the future. 

A software configurable 100G/200G solution that allows a doubling of capacity with the touch of a button, results in a faster time to revenue.


A network that is agile, scalable and programmable is critical to minimizing CAPEX and OPEX.  Agile optical networks are able to meet demand for dynamic services economically.  Scalable solutions that prevent costly overbuilds and recurring investments in space and power will be paramount going forward.

A programmable solution drives higher network utilization without sacrificing network or service reliability. 

Finally optical network intelligence helps to monetize network assets by shortening delivery times and reducing operating expenses typically associated with provisioning and maintenance.

Protect your optical network

To keep up with surging broadband traffic volumes, service providers in virtually every market are moving their optical transmission networks to 40G and 100G. But how long will this be enough? Consider a move to 200G. You can protect your network from the prospect of premature fiber exhaustion. And you can avoid investment in costly photonic overlays.

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