Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Alcatel-Lucent Outlines IP/Optical Transformation Blueprint

Alcatel-Lucent outlined its Converged Backbone Transformation solution aimed at relieving the strain on service providers' core networks by optimizing the routing of IP packets over optical transport.

Dramatic growth in Internet video traffic, along with a growing flood of IP-based business services, are increasing the strain on core routers -- through which nearly all traffic passes. Continually adding core router capacity is expensive, and as a result the network backbone is becoming a significant cost center.

Alcatel-Lucent said its new Converged Backbone Transformation solution solves this problem by more tightly integrating IP and optical transport resources. This integration reduces the number of required network elements, improves efficiencies in power and rack space, simplifies network provisioning and fault management, and minimizes latency. Alcatel-Lucent accomplishes this by means of an intelligent control plane between the optical and IP layers, leveraging ASON and GMPLS technologies. The goal is to handle traffic at lowest layer via flexible grooming & IP offloading options. This enables IP packets to stay at the photonic layer for as long as possible throughout the transit to their destination, rather than being processed by intermediate core routers. Management Plane Integration across IP & optical domains would enable seamless network visibility and provisioning.

A second goal of the Converged Backbone Transformation is to improve the efficiency of the optical network's resources through better grooming -- or "packing" -- of IP ports into wavelengths. Alcatel-Lucent is offering a range of traffic grooming options, including lambda (or wavelength)-level, port-level and sub-port-level grooming of IP traffic.

Alcatel-Lucent estimates its Converged Backbone Transformation would result in CapEx cost savings of at least 30%, in addition to savings in power, space and operational complexity. The Converged Backbone Transformation solution is a key component of Alcatel-Lucent's High Leverage Network strategy.