Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Verizon Picks Cisco and Ciena for Advanced 100G Metro Network

Verizon has selected Ciena and Cisco as vendors for its next generation metro optical network.

Specifically, Verizon will test and deploy Ciena’s metro-optimized 6500 packet optical technology and the Cisco Network Convergence System on portions of its 100G metro network this year, with plans to turn up live traffic in 2016. Supplier volumes will be guided by ongoing testing, support and performance.

“Deploying a new coherent, optimized and highly scalable metro network means Verizon stays ahead of the growth trajectory while providing an even more robust network infrastructure for future demand,” said Lee Hicks, vice president of Verizon network planning. “Ciena and Cisco met not only our technology requirements but the aggressive timeline to deploy our next-generation 100G-and-above metro network.”

“In today's Web-scale world, advanced, next-generation metro networks with high degrees of packet convergence and software intelligence are critical to the future of connecting increasing amounts of content to users,” said Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president, Global Products Group at Ciena. “Leveraging the latest capabilities in our 6500 platform for metro applications where density, scale and cost are equally important, Verizon will benefit from an end-to-end solution that can deliver a truly on-demand experience for its customers.”

“Verizon and Cisco are long-standing technology and business partners, and we are pleased to play a key role in Verizon’s optical network modernization program. Cisco has made key investments in next-generation optical technologies to enable Verizon to realize its vision to transform its network architecture to achieve the speed and operational efficiency required to meet the demands of today, while capturing growth opportunities over the next decade,” stated Said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of Cisco’s Service Provider Business group.


Blueprint: Beyond 100G in Core Networks – Is Coherent Technology Reaching a Plateau?

by Maxim Kuschnerov, Coriant

100G coherent technology has paved a successful path in terrestrial core and submarine networks since its introduction in 2010. In core networks, a figurative marketing war on beyond 100G capacity has been taking place for some time, with vendors announcing 200G, 400G, and IT transport solutions. However, it has been impossible to ignore the fact that beyond 100G tunable line side interfaces do not live up to the general evolutionary trend of 10G to 100G. While the previous per-channel capacity step represented a 10-fold increase without sacrificing reach or channel-count, a similar step seems very unlikely for interfaces beyond 100G.

Flexi-rate Interfaces - Not Quite Yet What you Would Expect

100G connectivity in the core started out with a 4QAM/QPSK modulation scheme, as shown in Figure 1, where binary electrical signals are converted to a format with four constellation points, which is transmitted in two orthogonal polarizations. The applied coherent detection technology is capable of detecting arbitrary multi-level schemes, which can be used to transmit more bits per time slot. Borrowing from a 30 to 40 year old playbook from wireless communications, optics turned its eyes to more flexible modulation formats like 200G 16QAM (see Figure 1) to increase capacity throughput. While the capacity increases by 100% compared to the classic 100G 4QAM, the reach is roughly a quarter. After a limited market introduction in 2014, this year we will see the first wave of commercial 100G/200G 16QAM interfaces. However, 200G 16QAM leaves no room for margin in manufacturing and does not have the wide appeal of a carrier-grade interface due to its inherent performance limitations. While sufficient to cover a portion of demands in long-haul networks, it is not quite the game changer.

When analyzing the actual reach requirements of core network demands it is clear that a more powerful solution to the minimal reach of 16 QAM transmission is required. Fully flexible transceivers should include a middle ground format of 8QAM. With reach of up to 2,000km 8QAM based solutions hits an ideal sweet spot in core networks while still providing an increase in spectral efficiency of 50%. Wide deployment of flexi-rate interfaces in core networks will not come until the adaptation of the 8QAM format is included in the solution, then living up to the promise of a single-spare fully flexible line interface. Figure 1 illustrates the reaches of a flexi-rate interface with multiple modulation schemes on a cumulative distribution of demands in core networks. 8QAM is clearly the undeniable working horse.

Figure 1: Applying flexi-rate interfaces to core networks with Raman amplification (Note: absolute distances of each scheme depends on fiber and amplifier type, span losses, channel counts, end of life margins, and error correction limits.)

Pushing the Limits – What’s Next in Terms of Differentiation

Flexi-rate interfaces for core optical networks are coming close to the theoretical boundaries of maximum channel capacity. It is virtually impossible to deliver a 400G or 1T long-haul interface while keeping channel count and network architecture the same. Digital signal processing offers still some room for improving error correction codes or the holy grail of fiber optic communication – i.e., algorithms for the compensation of fiber nonlinearity – but the return on investment diminishes drastically. Going forward, optical layer technology like Raman amplification or C+L band systems will be quintessential to increase core network capacity without requiring completely new fiber transmission technologies. Figure 2 shows an overview of techniques going forward for fiber capacity increase.
Figure 2: Improvements for core network channel capacities going forward vs. state-of-the art coherent interfaces

It is clear that the majority of innovation for capacity resides in the optical layer and no longer in signal processing chips. Since these integrated circuits become more expensive with each generation, their product definition has to find a good balance between development costs, power consumption, and feature set. Fighting for a 10% reach improvement with a disproportionately high investment cost is unlikely to lead to a profitable business model for many vendors. Moreover, optimization for very high-end optical performance is likely to reduce the viability of these solutions for lower end applications such as metro transport or datacenter interconnects, which are driven by low power and high density requirements. Thus, the trend for 400G/1T interfaces will shift away from pure optical performance improvements which are valuable only in long haul applications and instead focus more on solutions that can leverage the same design across multiple markets spaces, while delivering the most flexible level of architectural feature integration at the lowest power consumption. This reflects a similar experience in consumer market. While processing speed was one of the major buying criteria in the first age of personal computing, the value perception has shifted towards the application or the battery life of the device. The actual processing abilities of a smart phone or a laptop become of much lesser importance if not practically irrelevant.

Evolution of Core Networks in Light of the 100G Metro Surge

100G is on its path conquering the metro market using a mix of coherent and direct detect pluggable interfaces. Coherent technologies designed for the higher end of the metro market (>40-80km) will inevitably take a large share of the long-haul market. This mostly depends on each vendor’s ability to deliver low power flexi-rate interfaces. While these do not require high-end error correction abilities or highest performing optics, the reach and cost position of these interfaces will make the long-haul market an offer that it simply can’t refuse. A true long-haul network equipment manufacturer will not be able to survive without the mix of high-end and low-end coherent interfaces. While the earlier are likely to be proprietary and more power hungry, the lower end segment is on its way towards generic pluggable interconnects. Figure 3 highlights possible market coverage of several competing interface technologies. 

Figure  3 – Technology market segmentation for colored interfaces

In conclusion, the way forward to 1T interfaces is not a naturally outlined evolutionary step. Multi-channel interfaces will be required for both short reach and long-haul. While the war on costs in core networks is far from over, it looks like the industry is about to experience a different innovation pace in the optical performance craze.

With the performance of digital signal processing chips leveling out, the further evolution of photonic components could be key to enabling the next wave of core interconnects.

About the Author

Dr. Maxim Kuschnerov is a Product Manager at Coriant, Munich, responsible for high-speed interfaces and photonic layer technology. Since 2007, he worked for Coriant (former Nokia Siemens Networks) focusing on the development of signal processing concepts and coherent optical transceivers. He has authored and coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and conference contributions. Moreover, he was a project leader in the advanced research project ModeGap, developing space division multiplexing network technology and pushing the photonic layer vision beyond 2020.

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Huawei and China Mobile Demo Cloudified VoLTE

Huawei demonstrated a virtualized VoLTE solution designed specifically to support China Mobile’s Cloudified VoLTE service. The demonstration featured NFV-based core network elements, including a virtualized IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS), a virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC), a virtualized subscriber data management (vSDM), and a virtualized policy and charging rules function (vPCRF).

The Huawei Cloudified VoLTE solution runs on Huawei commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware servers and cloud operating system.


Avago Shows Next Gen Optical Transceivers

At this week's OFC in Los Angeles, Avago Technologies ts latest optical transceiver technologies for next generation data center and enterprise storage applications.

  • VCSEL-based optical PAM-4 technology for next generation optical transceivers
  • Extended-reach 100G QSFP28 eSR4 transceivers communicating over 300m MMF
  • 128GFC QSFP28 transceiver interoperating with 32GFC SFP+ transceivers
  • 40G BiDi MMF QSFP+ transceivers operating over duplex fiber
  • PCIe-over-Optics ToR switch solution enabling high density rack connectivity

"Avago has consistently been in the forefront of data center technologies," said Philip Gadd, senior vice president and general manager of the Fiber Optics Product Division at Avago. "The great breadth of our new technologies showcasing at OFC 2015 further demonstrates Avago's leadership and continued commitment to addressing the growing data center market."


Broadcom Expects Rapid Adoption of 40/50/100 GbE PHYs

Broadcom expects rapid adoption of its latest 40/50/100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) PHY in pluggable QSFP+ optical and DAC modules. The company cites multiple OEM and ODM vendors that have adopted the devices for immediate implementation. Sampling is underway.

The Broadcom PAM4 devices enable transmission rates of 40/50 gigabits per second (Gbps) over the existing infrastructure and are optimized for use in 40G quad small form-factor pluggable (QSFP) optics and direct attach copper (DAC) applications.

"The rapid adoption and support of our PAM4 technology by our leading customers and partners reinforces Broadcom's leadership in wired physical layer devices," said Lorenzo Longo, Broadcom, Vice President and General Manager, Physical Layer Products. "Our devices are designed to support higher data throughput over existing low bandwidth channels by transmitting more bits per symbol, significantly reducing cost by eliminating the need for expensive interconnect media."

Key Features:

  • Single 40/50GbE PHY drives 40/56G serial over various media
  • Supports a variety of DAC reaches from multiple suppliers
  • Enables SMF/MMF optics and silicon photonics
  • Low-power 28 nm CMOS design
  • Small 7x7mm package fits within QSFP+ form factor, cable assembly and optics modules


GigOptix Samples its 3rd Gen 100Gbps Ethernet Chipset

GigOptix announced its 3rd generation chipset for 100Gbps Ethernet datacenter and cloud computing applications.

The HXT8204 28Gbps 4 channel VCSEL driver array and HXR8204 28Gbps trans-impedance amplifier (TIA) receiver array enable the next generation of lower power 100Gbps Ethernet SR4 module and Active Optical Cable (AOC) solutions.

The HXR8204 four channel receiver with integrated TIA provides 60uAPP input sensitivity at 28Gbps with 10-12 Bit Error Rate (BER), AGC and ATC, and a limiting post amplifier stage. The HXT8204 four channel VCSEL driver supports modulation and average VCSEL currents up to 10mA with a dedicated BURNIN capability up to 15mA average current. The 1MHz I2C interface enables full control of all driver functions including input equalization, output peaking and peaking duration, Signal Detect and Squelch, channel polarity inversion, diagnostics such as average current and temperature monitoring as wells as user maskable Interrupts and VCSEL voltage supervisory functions.

“GigOptix is proud to announce our latest 100Gbps Ethernet chipset for the Datacom Ethernet market, which is expected to show 60% CAGR over the next seven years,” said Tom Kapucija, Datacom Marketing Director. “Our third generation solution enables a 20% typical reduction in power dissipation over our earlier chipset solutions without sacrificing performance or robustness. In addition, in certain applications such as Active Optical Cables we see up to 30% power reduction.”


Mellanox Intros Next Gen 100 Gbps Silicon Photonics Transceivers

Mellanox Technologies introduced three new LinkX 100 Gb/s solutions that support the high-density, low-power, QSFP28 connector-based Switch-IB switch platform.

The Switch-IB 36-port 100Gb/s InfiniBand switch delivers 7.2Tb/s of aggregate throughput in a 1U, making it the world’s highest performance, ultra-dense end-to-end platform. Mellanox said the robustness and density of standard QSFP connectors and cables enables 100Gb/s networks to be as easy to deploy as 10Gb/s.

Some highlights from #OFC2015

  • 100Gb/s Silicon Photonics Transceivers: 100Gb/s 1550nm Parallel Single Mode transceiver in the QSFP28 form factor, capable of reaches up to 2km.
  • 100Gb/s VCSEL Transceivers: 100G VCSEL transceiver in the QSFP28 form factor with reaches of 100m over multi-mode fiber (MMF).
  • 100Gb/s Splitters to connect 100G ports to 25G and 50G ports: new copper splitter breakout cables efficiently interconnect 100Gb/s QSFP28 switch ports to a new generation of high performance servers and storage appliances with 25G and 50G ports. Using zero power, they are the low-power, green solution for connectivity inside the rack.

At #OFC2015, Mellanox is also showing its ConnectX-4 100Gb/s interconnect adapters which deliver 10, 20, 25, 40, 50, 56 and 100Gb/s throughput supporting both the InfiniBand and the Ethernet standard protocols.


Lookingglass Raises $20 Million for Threat Intelligence

Lookingglass Cyber Solutions, a start-up based in Arlington, Virginia, announced $20 million in new funding for its threat intelligence for large businesses and government agencies.

The company says its platform increases visibility within and beyond the network perimeter, enabling customers to continuously assess and mitigate threats.

The Series B round was led by Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds, with participation by Alsop Louie Partners. The funding strengthens Lookingglass’ ability to deliver a dynamic defense solution to large and influential businesses and government agencies.  The mission is to empower confident, real-time decision making by offering focused, verified, multi-source information through a unique lens that customers use to create active intelligence for effective decision making.

Lookingglass notes the funding comes on the heels of its recent acquisition of CloudShield LLC and the company’s announcement on revenue growth exceeding 240%.