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12 December 2011
 
Ciena has landed a key contract to supply packet-optical transport equipment to UK incumbent BT. Commercial roll out of the 6500 platform is expected to start by the end of the year and will cover BT’s next-generation network, 21CN, across the whole of the UK.
 
The 6500 platform is equipped with Wavelogic coherent interfaces, which enable 10, 40 and 100G wavelengths to work side by side.  Consequently, the deal paves the way for BT to upgrade any routes on its extensive UK network with 40, 100 and – in the future – 400Gbps speeds.
 
"Our long-standing relationship with Ciena has enabled us to bring targeted innovation to market ahead of our competition," said Neil J. McRae, chief network architect at BT. "With this new infrastructure, we are continuing to invest for the future by increasing core network capacity, at eventual speeds of 400G, and simplifying management to push our network and services to the next level of performance."
 
The deal is about more than just boosting raw capacity, says Ciena. The 6500 also offers reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) functionality and integrated OTN switching with advanced control plane functionality.  The flexibility enabled by ROADMs helps to simplify operations and reduce operating expenses, while the OTN switch capability will enable BT to groom channels carrying many different types of traffic.
 
"This deployment underpins BT's product range and in particular supports growth in Wholesale Broadband Connect and Managed Ethernet Access Service.
 
Ciena has been a strategic supplier to BT since 2003. The operator has already deployed the 4200, CoreDirector and CoreStream systems – this transmission and switching equipment is the optical foundation for BT's existing network infrastructure.
 
The deal also includes Ciena’s OneControl management suite, which can manage products from across the vendor’s transport and switching portfolio, including the 6500 and 4200 platforms. The unified management system will be integrated into BT's existing operations support systems, offering comprehensive service lifecycle control and monitoring for the entire network, says Ciena.
 
By Pauline Rigby