100G Trial Completed in Wyoming by Independent Communications Operators and Cisco
Successful Demonstration Shows Statewide Network Infrastructure Ready to Meet Business Growth
To prepare for the anticipated growth of IP network traffic, two independent communications providers in Wyoming carried out the Rocky Mountain Region’s first successful trial of a 100 Gigabit per second optical connection. Silver Star Communications, based in Thayne, and Advanced Communications Technology (ACT), from Sheridan, completed this trial in conjunction with Cisco Systems in early April.
This landmark trial for rural America spanned 420 miles of existing fiber optic networks in Wyoming, travelling between Jackson and Sheridan, while passing through the communities of Dubois, Riverton, Shoshoni, Casper, and Buffalo. While a handful of trials and deployments have been completed elsewhere, most have resided on metropolitan Ethernet infrastructures conducted by large communications providers. In contrast to the metro trials, this project was completed over the rural landscape of Wyoming and by small independent communications providers.
“A trial of this nature further proves that we’ve been making the right investments in our network – building a scalable, future-forward network designed to handle the future bandwidth needs of Wyoming and Idaho,” said Ron McCue, president and chief operations officer for Silver Star.
One of the most significant outcomes of such a trial is the demonstration that independent networks can use existing facilities to create a common network, without incurring dramatic expense. This is the exact premise behind a newly formed Wyoming-based company – Cowboy Fiber Network, LLC. This fiber optic transport company, founded by ACT, Silver Star and three additional Wyoming companies, is committed to the future of broadband service in Wyoming.
For the State of Wyoming, knowing that existing networks in the state are capable of delivering next generation IP and data services is another positive outcome. Understanding that the network infrastructure in the State is capable of this level of connectivity gives Wyoming yet another important point of differentiation for economic development. An obvious attraction and demand for high-tech businesses considering relocation, start-up locations, remote staffing, or satellite operations would be a robust network that will meet their needs, not to mention the benefits to existing Wyoming industry.
Aaron Sopko, general manager of ACT believes that “this type of ground-breaking pilot project is essential to our long term goal of making the technology sector the 4th largest economic sector in Wyoming over the next decade.”
This particular 100G trial proves that not only can existing networks join together to provide such connectivity, but also while operating on equipment from a variety of manufacturers. Silver Star’s network, constructed with Adva Optical equipment, extends from Evanston, to Afton, Jackson Hole, and to Togwotee Pass, and from Idaho Falls, Idaho to Freedom WY. ACT’s network, built with Fujitsu equipment, extends from southern Montana, northern and central Wyoming to Casper, Riverton, and Togwotee Pass. Using Cisco’s 100G coherent optical technology called nLight™, the signals traversed existing fiber without regeneration or the need to re-engineer the network, and ensuring that 100G services can be deployed quickly as needed leaving existing customers unaffected.