When the first commercially deployed 100Gb/s coherent technology arrived in 2010, it was a watershed event, a once-in-a-decade technology transition that redefined the vendor and operator landscape. Coherent technology sparked greenfield deployments by operators, launched the flexible-wavelength grid and made ROADM-based networks much easier to use. The event’s impact resembles the 1996 introduction of WDM technology, which transformed the economics of optical transport by allowing multiple wavelengths to share a single fiber. This report from Andrew Schmitt, Cignal AI, covers coherent technology’s evolution, market success, and the road ahead.
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