Windstream, Nokia tout successful 800G trial on single wavelength

Windstream Wholesale teamed up with Nokia to successfully trial 800 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) service transmission over a single 800 Gbps wavelength.

The demonstration, which used Nokia’s FP5 IP service routing platforms and its sixth-generation coherent Photonic Service Engine (PSE-6s) technology, took place on a 1,386-kilometer link across Windstream’s live backbone network.

The companies claimed the trial was the first of its kind and will help Windstream get ready to offer 800GE business and wholesale services. A Windstream spokesperson said it and Nokia began testing the technology in October.

Further, Windstream chose to partner with Nokia because the vendor had both sixth-generation transponders capable of achieving 800G per wavelength and “800G faceplate client routers.”

“Nokia is also Windstream’s incumbent IP Core backbone router supplier,” the spokesperson said.

“Windstream Wholesale is fully committed to being at the forefront of connectivity and cutting-edge technology,” stated Windstream Wholesale President Joe Scattareggia. “We maintained this commitment as the first to introduce 400G to the market and are poised to further advance these technologies aiming to deliver 800G wave services from metro to ultra-long-haul distances to customers in 2024.”

Windstream and Nokia’s trial is significant for a couple of reasons, according to Dell’Oro VP Jimmy Yu. First, it shows that “800 GE is here” and Windstream is preparing to serve customers with this new high-speed service.

“An important first step for the future as enterprises come up with new bandwidth hungry services and applications,” he told Fierce Telecom.

The second reason is 800 GE signals can now be moved beyond short reach spans inside data centers and they can be transmitted over a long-haul transport network “using new coherent technology capable of delivering signal speeds as high as 1.2 Tbps.”

“This was accomplished with Nokia’s new coherent DSP [Digital Signal Processor] called PSE-6s,” said Yu. “This will deliver higher router network efficiencies at a lower cost-per-bit, while reducing the power or Watts per bit.”

Nokia and Windstream conducted the test over Windstream’s Intelligent Converged Optical Network (ICON) backbone connecting Atlanta to Miami.

Windstream said the successful trial will allow it to “efficiently scale” network capacity over its backbone to provide wholesale wave service at both 400GE and 800GE speeds – all while using fewer client and transponder ports.

Will Townsend, VP and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told Fierce this trial is important because Nokia is a leader among a handful of other companies in optical networking, and also the demonstration shows the potential to “squeeze bandwidth out of existing deployments and do so in a much more power efficient manner.”

“The latter is significant given all of the attention being paid to sustainability initiatives,” he said.

The Windstream spokesperson added the company’s current “coast-to-coast” 400G coverage spans multiple routes on ICON, with around “120 400G capable points of presence (PoPs) with numerous Nx400G customers in service.”

“We have a similar plan and roadmap with 800G waves over our ICON network where the first step includes live field trial validations in order to ultimately deploy the service for our customers,” they said.