Optical networking start-up Cambrian launched itself into Europe this week, in a bid to cash in on the continent's relentless hunger for bandwidth.
A year after it was formed in north America, the Canadian company is finding that operators there are interested in, but not always prepared to commit themselves to its high-performance Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) based system.
The company plans to employ around 20 people in the UK over the next year to support new customers in Europe. But the company admits that it could take at least a year for the technology to take off in the region.
Cambrian's OPTera system lets telecomm operators create high-performance metropolitan area networks using the much hyped DWDM optical technology. DWDM was initially used only for long distance networks, where it provided cost savings through low fibre usage and low cost maintenance.
But use of DWDM in metropolitan networks is becoming more common, driven by the fact that it can offer essentially unlimited bandwidth on new and existing fibre.
Several carriers are building high-capacity networks connecting major European cities, including Cable & Wireless, and Worldcom. Catering for traffic growth within the cities is important because it is driving the growth of bandwidth demand on these long haul routes, according to Cambrian's chief executive Don Smith.
But analysts said that while DWDM can provide cost savings for operators, the technology may be too untested for network operators who care more about service reliability.
"Established players are used to a reliable service, and have traditionally looked for a solution that provides reliability. DWDM is still seen by many as a step too far," said Gavin Parnaby, an analyst at Datamonitor in London.
However, Cambrian may find success in Europe for two reasons, said Parnaby. Firstly because of DWDM's tremendous bandwidth potential, and secondly because it gives new service providers the chance to be associated with new technology and being on the cutting edge.
Another reason DWDM could succeed in Europe is that operators have not deployed IP over Sonet, unlike many US operators, so are free to move straight to IP over DWDM, said Parnaby.
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