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Lucent unveils new fiber-optic technology

The telecom networking leader announces at the Supercomm '99 industry trade show it has built technology to quadruple the capacity of fiber-optic networks.

ATLANTA--Speed is the next big thing for industry leaders in the high-end networking space.

Lucent Technologies today at the Supercomm '99 industry trade show here said it has built new products to quadruple the capacity of fiber-optic networking technology, allowing firms to send data or voice traffic at speeds of up to 1.6 trillion bits per second.

The technology, from the Bell Labs arm of Lucent, takes advantage of fiber-optic technology and dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM), a method used to segment a strand of fiber into numerous "beams" of light, or "wavelengths"--each one capable of handling large amounts of traffic.

The thrust of this new technology is so service providers and communications carriers can take advantage of expanded network capacity.

Lucent's announcement follows Nortel Networks' disclosure last month of similar advancements. Nortel said its own technology in the space will ship next year.

Lucent executives would not give a release date for the new fiber-optic technology. An accompanying tool that utilizes a new fiber-optic channel, or "band," to double the number of wavelengths on a fiber strand will be commercially available by June of next year.

Lucent is demonstrating its DWDM technology here with Ascend Communications. The technology demo is a precursor to the closing of the firms' merger, which is expected following a vote by Ascend shareholders at the end of June.