Google Looking to Build National DWDM Optic Network
Google is reviewing contractor bids from tech firms in a plan to build a nationwide optical DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing) network. Such a network would have few rivals and it appears that Google plans to wire every address in the United States with access to its video, voice, and multimedia content.
IPDemocracy reports on leaks from the tech vendors who have seen Google’s RFP. “The vendors who have seen Google’s fiber network RFP say that the nature of the network can really only mean that Google ultimately hopes to push massive amounts of voice, video and data close to the end user. The perennial problem is that close is not enough — to reach the end user, Google has to have access to the last mile.”
What is DWDM and what does it have to do with Google and their fiber optics network? Wikipedia defines wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) as a technology which multiplexes several optical carrier signals on a single optical fibre by using different wavelengths of laser light to carry different signals. This allows for a n-fold increase in capacity, in addition to making it possible to perform bidirectional communications over one strand of fibre. Summary, it’s lightning fast and goes both ways.
Cynthia Brumfield adds in IPMediaMonitor (which requires registration and does not work very well in Firefox) “The move by Google comes on the heels of the companys widely reported purchase of dark fiber and hiring of an optical fiber expert to head up initiatives by the company to construct fiber-based networks. Some reports have suggested Googles aim in buying dark fiber is to cost-effectively manage the companys rising traffic loads by constructing its own long-haul networks. But according to vendors who responded to Googles request for proposals for the optical DWDM network, Googles architectural demands suggest the company is looking to become a major competitive communications network provider.”
Only a few US based companies operate DWDM networks, including Sprint-Nextel, At&T, and MCI. Brumfield says that Google could have a leg-up over these established networks due to recent advancements in DWDM technology” and should be able to build such a network for under $100 million. Google’s DWDM bandwidth would dwarf current broadband options and would be the ultimate channel for delivering Google voice, video and other multimedia applications.