More light for integrators: Metro fiber standard set

In June, the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva set the equipment standard for metropolitan-sized optical networks, those networks less than 31 miles long.

Along with the 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard, also ratified in June, this has given network integrators another reason to celebrate: The new ITU standard should ease the cost of optical networking equipment, helping to spur a market for short-haul optical networks that is expected to grow from $1.1 billion in 2001 to $4.3 billion by 2005, according to Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc.

This standard, ITU-T Recommendation G.694.2, establishes specifications for coarse wavelength division multiplexing. Multiplexing is a way of sending multiple light signals along one fiber strand.

By widening the space between these signals, CWDM eliminates the expensive cooling equipment needed for the lasers operating in the dense wavelength division multiplexing environments used in long-haul networks.

"This agreed-upon standard will be a stabilizing force for ... system manufacturers looking to offer low-cost, short-haul optical transport solutions," said Peter Wery, chairman of ITU study group that set the specifications.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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