News Release

Cisco and CIENA Announce Intent to Develop Optical Internetworking Technologies

Interoperable Products Enable Service Providers to Build Scalable, Cost-Effective Networks
Apr 20, 1998

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- April 20, 1998 -- Cisco Systems, Inc. and CIENA Corporation (Nasdaq: CIEN) today announced plans to develop carrier-class solutions to accelerate the deployment of next-generation optical internetworks. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, Cisco and CIENA will work together to overlay switching and routing technologies directly onto optical networks, enabling service providers to build more scalable and cost-effective data services.

Initially, Cisco and CIENA will work to enable service providers to build high-capacity IP backbones by interfacing the Cisco 12000 Gigabit Switch Router (GSR) directly to CIENA's long-haul, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems. The Cisco 12000 will interface with CIENA's DWDM system via synchronous optical network/synchronous digital hierarchy (SONET/SDH) OC-48c/STM-16 interfaces at 2.5 Gbps, without the need for additional intermediate network elements such as SONET terminal multiplexers. Future activities will include integration of additional platforms and interfaces, including support for asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), and the definition of new interfaces between data and optical layers to improve network flexibility and reduce equipment costs.

The rapid growth of data traffic is forcing service providers to reevaluate the way they build their transmission infrastructures. The ability to directly connect data platforms with optical networking elements such as DWDM will enable service providers to cost-effectively exploit the enormous capacities of optical technologies. Leading service providers have recognized this opportunity and are building new network infrastructures specifically optimized for data. By focusing on IP switching, routing and DWDM as core infrastructure technologies, service providers will be able to build data-optimized infrastructures with capacity costs significantly less than traditional, voice-optimized, time-division multiplexing (TDM) infrastructures.

"IP traffic volumes on high-speed backbones continue to double every six to nine months, with some routes already requiring multigigabit bandwidths," said Don Listwin, senior vice president of Cisco Systems' Service Provider Line of Business. "We believe that optical technologies will be key to addressing these enormous capacity requirements. Cisco and CIENA are working to bring about the rapid realization of this new networking approach and to ensure that we stay ahead of customer demands."

"Carriers are quickly recognizing the benefits of bringing IP traffic directly onto DWDM transport," said Patrick Nettles, CIENA's president and chief executive officer. "After initial interoperability testing, we expect more strategic product development to naturally emerge."

Cisco and CIENA are also cooperating with other leading vendors and service providers to ensure open standards for optical internetworking. In a separate announcement today, the two companies announced that they cofounded the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) to provide a venue in which vendors and users can agree on key specifications that will complement international standards activities while accelerating the deployment of optical internetworks.


Based in Linthicum, Maryland, CIENA Corporation is a worldwide market leader of open-architecture, dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) systems for long-distance and local exchange carriers. CIENA's DWDM solutions include the MultiWave(R) 1600 and 4000 long-haul transport systems, WaveWatcher(R) network management software, the MultiWave Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer, the MultiWave Sentry(TM) enhanced long-distance transport system and the new MultiWave Firefly(TM) and MultiWave Metro(TM) short-haul systems. Through its Alta subsidiary, based in Norcross, GA, CIENA provides a range of engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) services for telecommunications service providers in the areas of transport, switching and wireless communications.

CIENA's DWDM equipment expands the carrying capacity of fiber-optic networks by dividing the optical signal into several separate optical channels or wavelengths. An optical fiber without DWDM technology carries a single color of laser light, or a single wavelength, on which travels approximately 32,000 voice or data transmissions. CIENA's DWDM technology divides the single wavelength into multiple colors, or channels, thereby multiplying the capacity of the fiber by the number of channels and enabling service providers to expand bandwidth without the expensive process of adding more fibers. Additional information about CIENA can be found on its World Wide Web site:

[an error occurred while processing this directive]