Geekspeak: February 4, 2002

Future is now for optical nets.

Broadwing, formed in 1999 by a merger of IXC Communications and Cincinnati Bell, has the first all-optical network with paying customers. The network consists of about 18,500 miles of long-haul IP fiber, which lowers the number of times a signal must be regenerated to every 2,500 miles or so. This also means the network will likely be provisioned less often, allowing Broadwing to charge less. Broadwings Corvis-based equipment includes switching multiplexers that eliminate the need for some electrical switches. The other advantage is that Broadwing can provision the network faster, enabling its customers—which include enterprises and ISPs—to buy and use bandwidth faster than ever.

Its always interoperability and the last mile that count most. Broadwings all-optical network is a good start, but it will be a while before we all have fiber running to our houses.