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The Evolution of Next-Gen Optical Networks

Cable operators have made significant progress in migrating from 10 Gb/s optical transport waves to 100 Gb/s waves in their core networks. 100G waves allow 8 Tb/s or more of capacity to be carried on traditional fiber using the standard 50 GHz C-Band ITU-T G.694.1 grid. However, bandwidth growth projections already indicate that 8 Tb/s of capacity per fiber will be insufficient in the near future and that the operational costs of deploying so much capacity in 100G increments can be high. To address the emerging capacity requirements and to achieve better operational efficiency, next generation optical networks will utilize a flexible grid channel plan (variable-width optical super-channels) and terabit scale super-channels implemented with the appropriate modulation, depending on reach requirements, and incorporating software controlled optical switching functions.

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