Ciena said it has redesigned its optical transmitters and receivers so that they are programmable. Networks based on the devices will be capable of 100 Gbps to 400 Gbps transmission rates; the technology also opens a path to 1 Tbps networking, the company said.

Ciena has integrated digital signal processors (DSPs) into optical transmitters and receivers, and it has written software to control them. Network equipment incorporating Ciena's WaveLogic 3 chips will be able to be programmed to respond and adapt to changing requirements for capacity, reach and latency, "with minimal network disruption," according to the company.

WaveLogic 3 can carry multiple 100G payloads in metro and regional environments, doubling the capacity of current 100G networks, Ciena claimed.

Using transmitter processing, it can also deliver up to 30 percent capacity improvements in new flexible grid environments, providing customers with an efficient migration path to terabit networking.

Ciena believes its DSP transmitter is the first such device devised for the market, as well as the first optical 16-QAM transmitter, which the company said is essential to delivering  greater than 100 Gbps speeds. Spectral shaping reduces network cost by improving system margin in metro environments, and pre-compensation allows service providers to run higher capacity services over older fiber links, maximizing network investment, Ciena said.

The WaveLogic 3 DSP receiver achieves 75 trillion operations per second, which the company said is six times the processing power of WaveLogic 2.

WaveLogic 3's soft-decision forward error correction (soft FEC) algorithm extends maximum service reach and enables practical deployment of higher-capacity (>100G) systems, the company said. The soft FEC is the software-programmable element.

WaveLogic 3 will be deployed in the second half of 2012, the company said. Customers that endorsed the technology include BT and Verizon.