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Comcast Kicks Tires On 100-Gig Optical Links

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-torrents dept.

Networking 61

Balistyx writes to mention that Comcast has announced the first test of 100-gigabit-per-second optical networking equipment designed to carry data over a production fiber network. The trial equipment will connect Philadelphia and McLean, VA. "In November, Verizon said it completed the first field test of 100-Gbps optical transmission on a live 312-mile network route between Tampa, Fla., and Miami. The telco's test used a live video feed from the FiOS TV network, and optical equipment from Alcatel-Lucent. Comcast's test is different, according to Schanz, for several reasons: It's running live traffic, and the 100-Gbps wavelengths in the Comcast trial are running over the same physical fiber as its existing 40-Gbps wavelengths, which are handled by Cisco Systems gear."

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McLean VA? (0)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758550)

CIA/NSA need more bandwidth from Comcast I guess

Re:McLean VA? (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758628)

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I think so Brain, but what would the NSA do with ten billion smoked herrings?"

Re:McLean VA? (1)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758780)

It is probably because Comcast opened a new development office there to have somewhere to place all the AOL people they hired. So Philadelphia to Virgina makes sense.

A wise Jedi once said... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763116)

"...as if a billion Pinky jokes wooshed overhead and fell silent."

Re:McLean VA? (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759096)

McLean is right next to Vienna, center of the MAE East [wikipedia.org] Internet Exchange Point [wikipedia.org] .

Re:McLean VA? (1)

funkboy (71672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762144)

...too bad nobody's connected to it [mae.net] anymore. Once upon a time it was the largest exchange point on the east coast (and possibly the world). Years of crappy performance followed by replacement with a complicated ATM architecture that no one wanted to use ensured that several viable [equinix.net] alternatives [paix.net] sprung up in the area, and thus its subsequent rapid decline.

Re:McLean VA? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762280)

So, what's your point?
PAIX is in Vienna, too. Equinix is in Ashburn, 10 miles away.

You brain, clouded with pedantic thoughts, completely missed the point - they're running one end of their link to McLean because it's close to a lot of peering.

Re:McLean VA? (1)

memeplex (910698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22760822)

NSA is located in Maryland. I love those brown exit signs for Ft. Meade.

Keypoints.. (5, Informative)

EssJay (134044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758556)

Some interesting keypoints:
  • "The 100-Gbps trial connects Comcast facilities in Philadelphia and to McLean, Va., running over the operator's metro and long-haul fiber links. Comcast is using preproduction versions of Nortel Networks' 100-Gbps interface cards, running in the vendor's Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 system"
  • "It's running live traffic, and the 100-Gbps wavelengths in the Comcast trial are running over the same physical fiber as its existing 40-Gbps wavelengths, which are handled by Cisco Systems gear"
  • "It's not on some dedicated facility ... It's on [the] production fiber, next to other lambdas."
  • "Comcast believes it's the first test of 100-Gbps wavelengths with reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) photonic components."

Previous work (2, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758582)

Demo of bonding 10 wavelengths together, each carrying 10 Gbps:
http://gigaom.com/2006/11/14/100gbe/ [gigaom.com]
The comments after that post include one about NTT testing 111 Gbps over a single wavelength for 160 km. That's more like the article, which sounds like it's describing a single wavelength.

Re:Keypoints.. (2, Funny)

markswims2 (1187967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758756)

Missed one -
  • 100Gbps is entire HD porn movies in the blink of an eye... that's some fast porn

Re:Keypoints.. (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759682)

they also provided internet connectivity to the IETF meeting in Philadelphia and the IETF turned off IPv4.

What good is it? (5, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758566)

But what good is this 100 gigs if you can only pay for it but not use it?

~Dan

Re:What good is it? (2, Funny)

Erpo (237853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758614)

You beat me to it! I was going to write something like:

"Now, subscribers can begin paying overage fees and experiencing reduced speeds just six seconds after the beginning of the each new billing cycle."

Re:What good is it? (1)

ShagratTheTitleless (828134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758758)

I figure it at just over 25 seconds (without any protocol overhead) to approach their cap. I don't think my HD can lay down 300GiBs that fast though. I would however like to try.

Re:What good is it? (2, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759578)

My thoughts (including him beating me to it) exactly.

I recently left Comcast for Verizon FiOS. I even went to the local office and told them I had been a customer of theirs for over 20 years, as the local company was bought out several times, and they may want to take note on why a 20 year customer would leave. I gave them 10 reasons, but cited as top: 1) Bandwidth limits they refused to state, leaving me wondering if I was close or not and leading me to restrict a lot of my browsing, 2) Upload speeds slower than snail mail, and 3) P2P blocking due to their bandwidth fears. (Oh, and I mentioned their refusal to carry Boomerang on cable...)

What good would gigabit speeds be with a company that is so miserly with bandwidth in the first place? It might mean I'd get enough bandwidth to do what they should have let me do on my old account or it might even encourage them to let me do what Verizon already lets me do.

Re:What good is it? (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758736)

But what good is this 100 gigs if you can only pay for it but not use it?

~Dan
If your ISP then uses traffic shaping to manage you downloading via this big fat fast pipe?

Re:What good is it? (3, Interesting)

sahonen (680948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758764)

Hit the nail on the head. I have Comcast's fastest plan in this area and I can only sustain an FTP upload at 50 KB/sec. At 3am. To my own private server. It's ridiculous and unacceptable. If I had ANY alternative I would switch immediately. If having all this extra bandwidth means they can relax their insane throttling I'm all for it as long as they don't try to charge me extra for the privilege. I know for a fact that there's more than enough bandwidth in the pipe. They're just not giving any of it to me.

Re:What good is it? (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758844)

Every day I look up on the telephone pole at verizon's FIOS hookup, yearning for when it goes active. The guy who was working on it said it wouldn't go live until late april.

The only problem is that I hate verizon as much as I hate comcast.

Re:What good is it? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759604)

Out of curiosity, how does /. feel about Earthlink? I understand that they don't throttle bittorrent.

Re:What good is it? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22760628)

Out of curiosity, how does /. feel about Earthlink? I understand that they don't throttle bittorrent.
Anyone who doesn't censor the Internet is ok in my book.

~Dan

Re:What good is it? (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758952)

I don't like comcast, they brag a lot, but don't show results. I use Qwest, and can get a few things going at 50 kb/sec, if not higher. I do pay for a dedicated 7mbs, but shrug.

Re:What good is it? (1)

All_One_Mind (945389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762372)

I have the exact same dilemma, down to every detail 100%. Sounds like a hard limit to me. Any others confirm the 50kb upload cap on their Comcast account?

Re:What good is it? (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761422)

Oh, they'll use it, but they'll prioritize HD PPV television over Internet. They've been chomping at the bit to get even with FIOS and U-Verse.

100 gbps wavelength? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22758578)

what does that even mean?

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (5, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758600)

Backbone fiber uses wavelength division multiplexing, which means that more than one color of light carries data over the fiber. So it's common to talk about lighting up a wavelength ("lighting a lambda"), and in general to use "wavelength" to mean one of the several carrier frequencies on the fiber.

So a "100 Gbps wavelength" means a single laser-receiver pair modulated to carry 100 Gbps.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758636)

Though the article is ambiguous. When it says "100 Gbps wavelengths" it could mean multiple wavelengths each carrying part of the data stream.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (5, Interesting)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758734)

If you read one of the linked articles [verizon.com] , you'll learn that

Unlike other trials that used 10 separate 10 Gbps wavelengths to carry 100 Gbps, the Verizon test utilized a 100 Gbps signal on a single wavelength.
Other interesting things from that article:

"This is another critical milestone on our way to ensuring that we have the most advanced telecom network technology at the right time, in the right place, to serve our customers,"
Having never used Comcast, I'll leave it to those who have to asses the meaning of "serve our customers".

"The field trial also confirms optical networking's role as a critical enabler for competitive transformation, as new services and applications reshape network requirements."
I thought peer-to-peer data transfer already "reshaped network requirements" and left the ISPs struggling to keep up.

"Applications based on online video are clearly drivers for higher bandwidth [...]"
Again, how about peer-to-peer transfer.

"Transmission at 100 Gbps will enable low latency and significant improvement in real-time transaction. Trading institutions and other Verizon customers using real-time communications will find the associated performance very attractive."
I can transfer 100 Gbps by putting hard disks in my backpack and running a short sprint. This is orthogonal to latency (which is what real-time is about). Okay, strawman. Assume the big fiber is deployed, and everybody uses it. Then you'll run into contention issues, and your packet will sit in a queue. I'm not saying bigger pipes won't help, but I want an arguement; right now, all I have is a claim.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (2, Funny)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758762)

I want an argument...
OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is abuse.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759640)

Having never used Comcast, I'll leave it to those who have to asses the meaning of "serve our customers".
Let's just say that if this system doesn't include whips, truncheons, or water boarding, then it's not on par with how they normally service their customers.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22762516)

I'll leave it to those who have to asses the meaning of "serve our customers".
Here, I fixed that for you: I'll leave it to those who have to "serve our customers" the meaning of asses.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22765640)

You can't transfer 100Gbps by putting hard disk in your backpack.. the "ps" is PER SECOND. You would need to transfer that data from start to end in a one second sprint. Packets will not "sit in queue". This isn't just bandwidth for interent... this is the backbone that carries ALL data, your tv programs, vod content, voice calls etc. Currenlty running at 40Gbps, an upgrade to 100Gbps means you don't have to channel-bond 2 or 3 40Gbps transponders to get a 100Gbps pipe... therefore a 80Gbps link in between two sites now cost half as much.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774030)

You can't transfer 100Gbps by putting hard disk in your backpack.. the "ps" is PER SECOND.
You're confusing things. I'm talking about the slope of the secant going between the points at the start and end of the transfer. You are, I assume, talking about the (lack of) variation of the bit rate during the transfer.

My point is that bit rate and latency are orthogonal. Imagine that Mr. ISP divides time into successive intervals (0, 1] each lasting one second. At the time 1, he sends every packet you gave him during that interval, up to your allowed bit rate. Packages sent at time 0.00001 will have almost a full second delay. Now imagine he transfers each packet instantaneously (again, up to your allowed bit rate).

You get the same bit rate (measured in bits PER SECOND) in both scenarios, yet significantly higher latency in one versus the other.

Packets will not "sit in queue"
Thank you. Now I can just laugh at you and move on :D

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

Kurt Wall (677000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22771176)

Having never used Comcast, I'll leave it to those who have to asses the meaning of "serve our customers".

s/serve/screw/

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (3, Funny)

icyisamu (941436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758646)

If you need to see it in action, there is an Emacs command to do that of course, C-x M-c M-comcast.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759572)

Ah, yes, good ol' C-x M-c M-comcast. Friggin' emacs...

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (3, Informative)

patlabor (56309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759694)

Although these dense wavelength division multiplexing systems (DWDM) are using different wavelengths, they are barely different, with lambdas separated by just a few (really almost one) nanometers (10^-9 m). This is possible because looking at the wavelength shows that there is a separation of 100 GHz for 1550 nm systems. DWDM is currently the most efficient (by density) method for transmitting mutiple frequencies of light, and the most resiliant to noise. The wavelengths are always grouped together in center frequency, which is chosen for it's optimal transmission capabilities according to a fiber. The currently popular frequency is 1550 nm, but there were several others in the past. There are even some fibers that are efficient for a few wavelengths, which must be the type of fiber Comcast already laid in this case.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

patlabor (56309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759712)

I mean to say, the currently popular *wavelength* is 1550 nm.

Re:100 gbps wavelength? (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764028)

Calling them "different colors" doesn't mean much to us mere humans, since the whole set of "colors" used is way down in the infra-red range. But since this is laser light anyway, you need to be extra careful when handling those devices: even though you cannot see the light rays, they can still damage your retina.

Ha! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758618)

I won't believe it until Comcast runs a 100 Gb/s link to my apartment for me to try out. For free. After that, I'll be happy to recommend them to Slashdot users and anyone else they want me to promote to. Hey, everyone has their price! :) (Now to see if the Comcast execs will take my bait...)

Re:Ha! (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759782)

They are talking about 100Mbs to the door on 100Gbps lambdas "backbones".

Re:Ha! (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761036)

So actual speeds of about 100KB/s then, right?

Righteous! (1)

spoonist (32012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758634)

Awesome! Now they can slow down my P2P traffic even faster!!

Re:Righteous! (1)

sr8outtalotech (1167835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758688)

Not only that but when their DNS servers go down, you'll get name resolution errors even faster.

Re:Righteous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22771790)

Not only that but when their DNS servers go down, you'll get name name resolution errors even faster.
Where have you been? Everyone knows that Comcast's DNS servers are always down [google.com] .

Trial equipment in production? (1)

toetagger (642315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758644)

Comcast has announced the first test...to carry data over a production fiber network. The trial equipment will connect Philadelphia and McLean, VA.
Oh, let me quickly move my back......connection lost

Seriously, why are they testing trial equipment on a produciton network?

Re:Trial equipment in production? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758676)

I suspect they meant equipment trials, not trial (beta, prototype) equipment.

Re:Trial equipment in production? (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774880)

I'm pretty sure it is trial gear, as in beta. One of the articles I read said the product wouldn't be commercially available until late this year.

The Cost? (2, Interesting)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758938)

A couple of questions:

Cable
What is the end cost to the users? I understand that Comcast has a modulated speed. One big pipe, a lot of users on the same pipe. Farther from the hub? fewer users, smaller pipe.
Will you be able to pay for more of that pipe and get better speeds?
Can you pay them not to downsize your P2P?
With the new Hulu site out there, will they mistakenly see legal traffic as illegal and stop it from working?

DSL
For DSL, what speeds could you buy? (They mentioned Verizon testing)How much would it cost?
Will people in the US ever see the speeds that you are supposed to see in Korea?

Just some thoughts. I obviously don't have the answers, but I know that some /. ers do.

Don't you mean "tries on"? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758962)

Otherwise, are they getting tired of optical thingies? It makes no sense. It must be a misspelling.

Nevermind. Mod me down because I deserve it. (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758972)

I missed the word "kicks." I haven't had my coffee yet, and I'm a typical Slashdot reader. You can't have too high of an expectation for me.

FiOS over Comcast? (1)

odoketa (1040340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22758996)

Wait - they used a competitor's TV signal to test the speed of their lines? They must realize they're in bad shape, bandwidth-wise.

Philadelphia? Bah (2)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759188)

I live in Philadelphia. No FIOS, no Comcast Blast. Just standard DSL or standard cable speeds, those are our options. I'm 100% certain Comcast won't sell anything faster until we have FIOS here, and I'm 100% certain we will never have FIOS here because Comcast is based out of Philadelphia. Thanks for nothing, Comcast.

Re:Philadelphia? Bah (1)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762172)

I dunno. They're tearing the shit out of this (east) end of South St and running something electrical to each building on the street. I need to ask one of the workers exactly what they're doing, but I'm hoping it's FIOS. They also cut down all the trees so the roots wouldn't fuck with whatever they're laying down.

How to you feed a 100Gbps DWDM link? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22759756)

You deploy these http://cisco.com/en/US/products/ps5763/index.html [cisco.com]

Which btw during development was not referred to as the CRS, but the BFR (Big F-ing Router; ala Doom's BFG).

Nortel, not Cisco (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761448)

The Crash-1 only does 40 Gbps (OC768) as far as I can tell. This is Nortel gear; not sure what they're feeding it with, since at speeds like that you'd rather do switching, not routing.


There's been somewhat of a race in the industry between the people who think the next step after 10 Gbps should be 40 Gbps or 100 Gbps - 10 was a really convenient speed, because the Telecom/SONET part of the world does multiples of ~155 Gbps * 2**N, so OC192 is basically the same speed as 10GE and they can reuse many of the components and technology. 40 Gbps OC768 is fairly cutting-edge, but some carriers have been deploying it, while others have been waiting for 100GE, and it's easier to do a 4x generation technology change than 10x.


Also, several generations of Cisco gear have had names like that; I think the 12000 GSR was HFR?

Comcast (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22760038)

You mean the company that on day one of my service ( they bought my local provider out, wasn't my choice ) bricked my modem and told me to call back in a week if i was still having troubles? ( as did several others that i know personally that had the same problem. Some on cable, others on DSL.. ) And gotta love that 'welcome letter' i got. "welcome to comcast, your rates are now increasing by 20 a month"

The same comast that hasn't stayed up for more then 3 days straight and i have to restart my modem?

The same comcast that throttles bandwidth?

Who cares if some monopoly is kicking the tires of 100g fiber, we 'little people' wont see any of it.

In other news... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763080)

Japan's customers are being offered 1Tb connections for three-fiddy/month. Meanwhile, Comcast has announced that they are going to redirect 95% of their R&D and deployment budgets to paying for Washington lobbyists and contributions to national party coffers to get FCC oversight to be eliminated.

The $100,000,000,000 cable plan (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763084)

Going to take serious subprime bailouts to pay for these cable plans.

BIG NEWS: What they didn't tell about this link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763516)

This link is for part of the nationwide surveillance program to pipe local transmissions to a "secret" government program which has such a great cost for data analysis that they had to transmit it to a secure facility a great distance away.

Don't believe be? Do the research.

Show me the bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763534)

I feel confident that this news will in no way benefit Comcast's customers. My local cable ISP was just bought by Comcast, and, like a controlled experiment, I noticed an immediate and dramatic decline in the quality of my service.

Suddenly, completely legal sites like TheDailyShow.com could no longer stream me video consistently without interruptions for buffering. When Hulu opened this week, more highly annoying buffering ensued. Download speeds are rarely higher than 2/3rds what they were pre-Comcast, despite no change in my system or the sites I was visiting. Often it's only 1/3rd as fast, regardless of the time of day.

I was neutral on them before I experienced this, but Comcast can rest assured that I will be deliberately avoiding them when I change residences later in 2008. I'll even pick a service with mediocre reputation like AT&T over Comcast.
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