Virtual1 Deploys MetroWAVE

Virtual1 has deployed ‘MetroWAVE’ Optical Multiplexers from Metrodata Ltd. for the heart of its recently launched London-wide fibre infrastructure.

Long-standing UK Network Equipment Manufacturer Metrodata Ltd., already a partner with its MetroCONNECT family of Managed Ethernet Demarcation Devices (EDDs), worked with Virtual1 to design a key element of the Metro-area fibre network, stretching from Docklands in the East right though to Heathrow and Woking in the West. The company’s MetroWAVE Optical Multiplexers have been installed in Data Centres and main PoP locations throughout the network.

Each MetroWAVE Mux/Demux unit supports 8 fibre services, each of up to 10Gbps, over different wavelengths within the ‘Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing’ (CWDM) spectrum, in addition to accommodating a conventional ‘wideband’ service at the 1310nm wavelength, used by default for fibre connection by equipment vendors. In addition, provision is made for both non-invasive service monitoring and throughput expansion, all in a highly compact package. Moreover, the multiplexers themselves are completely Passive, requiring no power and containing no moving parts, so their reliability is extremely high, a critical factor for Virtual1’s core network.

As Managing Director of Metrodata, Richard Kirby, explains “The key benefits to Virtual1 of the inclusion of our MetroWAVE multiplexers at the heart of their fibre network are the simplicity, low cost and speed of both initial deployment and subsequent expansion. The units occupy an extremely small footprint and offer massive network throughput expansion in cost-effective modular increments.” Each multiplexer takes just one third of a single unit (1U) of rack space and offers expansion via CWDM and/or DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) up to 230 Gbps of network capacity within a single rack unit and then potentially to over 340 Gbps within 2U.

Kirby points out that whilst optical multiplexing is neither new, nor Virtual1’s approach radical, some key equipment design steps have been taken by both parties to ensure that the cost-effectiveness of Passive optical technology does not compromise performance, particularly in relation to driving distances around the fibre ring. “Our equipment has been optimised for modular expansion with minimal optical power loss, which is essential to ensure effective signal reach around the Metro network”. The result, for Virtual1, is a fibre network core which is resilient and can be quickly and simply expanded, all at low cost and using minimal space and power, both of which are at a premium in the Data Centre environment.

The Virtual1 London network puts Ethernet within reach of half a million premises around the city from Docklands through to Heathrow. By lighting BT Exchanges with fibre and partnering with BT OpenReach to provide the access tail, Virtual1 is able to provide the Telecoms channel with a competitive high-speed network offering to their customers.

James Hickman, Chief Technical Officer of Virtual1 said: “We chose MetroWAVE equipment because of the simplicity of the solution, low maintenance requirement and excellent scalability. Metrodata were a delight to work with as they are a very responsive supplier and were keen to work closely with us to ensure their product fitted our needs.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine