Verizon to install 100 gigabit network in U.S.

Following an upgrade in Europe, Verizon is looking to deploy 100G Ethernet to certain sections of its U.S. Internet backbone by the end of the second quarter.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Verizon Communications plans to upgrade segments of its U.S. Internet backbone to 100 Gigabit Ethernet by the end of the second quarter, the carrier said today.

The upgrade to 100G will happen in three segments: Chicago to New York, Sacramento to Los Angeles, and Minneapolis to Kansas City.

The upgraded network can offer backbone speeds of 100 gigabits per second, up to 10 times faster than is generally now available. Verizon said the upgrade can benefit business customers that increasingly depend on video streaming, cloud-based applications, and other bandwidth-intensive services.

Internet backbones use high-speed fiber-optic networks to send data between major routers on the Internet. The various backbones that support the Internet are maintained by different organizations, including telecom companies such as Verizon. Providing a major improvement in performance over 1G and 10G Ethernet and the more recent 40G Ethernet, the 100G Ethernet standard was ratified last summer by the IEEE, or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The U.S. effort will follow a deployment earlier this month in Europe, where Verizon set up a 100-Gigabit Ethernet network between routers on a 555-mile stretch from Paris to Frankfurt. As in Europe, Verizon's U.S. backbone upgrade will use Juniper Networks' routers and Ciena's equipment to help the link bridge the long distance between cities.

Beyond offering faster speeds, 100G Ethernet is more efficient than other network standards.

Verizon can upgrade its current fiber-optic system by simply installing new equipment on the network rather than replacing the underlying infrastructure. The network is also more efficient, according to Verizon, because it can carry traffic on a single 100G wavelength as opposed to 10 different wavelengths, each running at 10 gigabits per second. And the overall efficiency of 100G Ethernet can help cut down on latency, or the total time it takes for the data to reach its destination.

"Advancing to 100G is a significant step in strengthening our global IP network to handle the bandwidth demands of our customers--whether it's large enterprises or the average consumer," Ihab Tarazi, vice president of network planning at Verizon, said today in a statement. "Besides greater scalability and network efficiencies, we also expect 100G deployment to improve latency on a route-by-route basis."