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Breaking the silence on the worst-kept secret in recent telecom history, Ciena announced the much-anticipated WaveRouter. The company has long been a player in packet access and aggregation networks but the new platform, which is capable of scaling to 192Tbps, pits Ciena squarely against the three US-based purveyors of big router iron in the battle for the next generation of converged metro and edge networks.

And convergence is what it’s all about. Ciena is attacking the space from a dominant position in optical networking and as such claims that WaveRouter is the first platform purpose-built for this new era of converged IP/optical metro architectures – what the company refers to as Coherent Routing. Hence the product’s pitch-perfect name, which, despite evoking the functionality of a ROADM (and not to be confused with Lucent’s ill-fated LambdaRouter), perfectly captures the essence of Ciena’s market wedge. Ciena is so confident in the new product’s moniker that it may be the first router name in decades to eschew numerical digits and three-letter acronyms.

Left and Right: Ciena’s wedge into the edge routing market

WaveRouter follows two previous Coherent Aggregation Router introductions within the last year – the 14.4Tbps, 400G-focused 8190 (see Cignal AI’s Active Insight “Ciena Ups its Router Game to Address the New Metro”), and the 100G-oriented 8140. In a nod to their move upmarket, this trio of routers is to be reclassified as Coherent Metro Routers, reserving the descriptor Coherent Aggregation Router for the smaller 81XX boxes with capacity below 5Tbps and an emphasis on the aggregation of lower speed traffic.

Marketing lingo aside, how unique is WaveRouter, and does it live up to its lofty expectations?

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