Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ericsson Acquires Conceptwave for OSS/BSS Software


Ericsson has acquired ConceptWave, a private company specializing in software for managing the lifecycle of telecom services.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

ConceptWave, which is based in Toronto, Canada, has developed Product Lifecycle Management, Order Lifecycle Management and Customer Lifecycle Management solutions for service providers. The company was founded in 2000 and has about 170 employees.

Ericsson said the acquisition complements and strengthens its operations- and business support systems (OSS/BSS) portfolio.

Elisabetta Romano, Head of OSS in Business Unit Support Solutions, Ericsson, says: "There is a trend towards more personalization of services where end-users want to purchase communications services meeting their individual needs. This puts high demand on telecom operators to be able to offer flexible product bundles with customized pricing packages. In this area ConceptWave's solutions and employees' expertise adds considerable value to Ericsson's portfolio."

http://www.ericsson.com

In January 2012, Ericsson completed its acquisition of Telcordia for US$1.5 billion in cash. 

Huawei Shows 480 Gbps Router Line Card


Huawei unveiled the industry's first and highest-capacity 480 Gbps router line card, enabling a capacity of 15.4 Tbps for its high-end core router with 48x10GE, 12x40GE, or 4x100GE line-rate forwarding per slot.  Huawei will offer various daughter cards with 10GE/40GE/100GE ports for flexible configuration.
Huawei said the capacity is achieved using its third-generation programmable, custom Solar 3.0 ASICs with Smart Memory and Intelligent Frequency Adjustment (IFA) technologies. The company said it is able to achieve a record-low energy use of 0.71 W/g for the line card.
"The global 100G era is coming, with Internet traffic fast approaching terabyte level. 2012 marks the beginning of large-scale commercial deployment of 100G, with the launch of Huawei's 480G line card expected to accelerate the development of the high-end 100G industry. It will help carriers build sustainable and efficient networks, combat the bandwidth challenges created by cloud application proliferation, and reduce network O&M costs." said Gai Gang, President of Huawei's Carrier IP Product Line.
  • Earlier this month, Huawei announced Software Defined Network (SDN) capabilities on its Service Provider routers. The company said its SDN solution is based on its high-performance, large-capacity hardware platform and fully distributed "VRP" software, which enables a centralized control plane and a software-defined forwarding plane.
    Huawei will support Openflow for decoupling of hardware and software. By abstracting the control layer and the orchestration layer, Huawei said its SDN Enabled router enables carriers to rapidly deploy new services without having to change the forwarding hardware.  Another advantage of SDN, according to Huawei, is that end-to-end path calculation based on routing policies is possible with a centralized controller.  The SDN Enabled router is also expected to simplify IP network management.

Huawei Cites 100G Milestones - 40 Carrier Deployments

Huawei confirmed that its 100G networks are now deployed by more than 40 carriers in over 30 countries around the world.  The company claims a 39% share of the 100G market, according to figures from Ovum.

Two leading deployment examples are Rostelecom's national 100G network across Russia, and a pan-European 100G WDM network for KPN (the Netherlands).

http://www.huawei.com

More 100G news about Huawei is here:
http://convergedigest.blogspot.com/search?q=Huawei+100G&max-results=20&by-date=true

Huawei Collaborates with Yale on Open Edge Cloud


Huawei is collaborating with Yale University on Open Edge Cloud – an open content delivery infrastructure using data lockers.
Huawei said the idea behind the Open Edge Cloud is to integrate service modules, including storage, computing, video processing and network awareness, over the edge of telecom carrier networks. The service modules are application programmable, enabling a flexible and efficient cloud platform by providing standard APIs and virtualized in-network resources to applications. 
The work will be presented to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM) conference.
 http://www.huawei.com

Nominum Leverages DNS Query Analytics for New Applications


Nominum introduced its N2 platform and "IDEAL" ecosystem for helping network operators to harness the power of DNS data analytics to improve their networks and offer in-house applications.
Nominum’s DNS software currently processes over one trillion queries per day at over 140 network operators worldwide.  The N2 platform gathers and anonymizes this data allowing application providers seamless access to it.  The N2 platform enables the rapid development and seamless integration of applications that leverage this DNS data.   These applications are generated by the Nominum IDEAL ecosystem, an open ecosystem of application providers. 
Nominum said this approach lets network operators leverage their DNS infrastructure to deploy more highly functional apps more quickly and cost effectively to differentiate their services.
“Traditionally, it’s been hard to take advantage of DNS data to gauge network health and activity or improve the subscriber experience. The tools for collecting, synthesizing, anonymizing, and analyzing it weren’t adequate,” said Nominum’s Chairman Dr. Paul Mockapetris, the inventor of the DNS. “The N2 Platform simplifies the process of collecting large amounts of data in real-time and makes it easier to develop new applications and integrate with other network operator systems."
Additionally, Nominum has released six new Nominum applications built on top of the N2 platform:
  • Nominum Subscriber Safety: Protects subscribers from malicious websites on any device.
  • Nominum Network Security: Deters outbound spam, protects valuable network assets and subscribers.
  • Nominum Personal Internet: Makes it simple for subscribers to personalize their home Internet.
  • Nominum Network View: Provides instant access to high-level network intelligence with drill downs to detailed data. 
  • Nominum Configuration Manager: GUI interface streamlines DNS operations and reduces management costs.
  • Nominum Content Filtering: Gives families the option to keep illegal and offensive content out of their homes and mobile devices.

Ericsson Supports First VoLTE Launches

Ericsson noted its role in the world's first three commercial Voice over LTE (VoLTE) launches: SK Telecom and LG U+ in Korea, and MetroPCS in the US.  All three carriers announced their VoLTE deployments on August 7, 2012.



“Telecom grade telephony is going all-IP over commercial mobile broadband LTE networks for the first time. This is a historic moment in the telecom industry. We see increasing operator interest in VoLTE globally, and we expect broader market take-off in 2013,” said  Johan Wibergh, Head of Business Unit Networks at Ericsson.

http://www.ericsson.com

DE-CIX Internet Exchange Scales Across Frankfurt with ADVA's 100G



DE-CIX, the world's largest Internet Exchange serving over 480 Internet service providers via a distributed peering fabric in Frankfurt, Germany, will upgrade its metro network to 100G channels using ADVA Optical Networking's FSP 3000 platform.

DE-CIX hit a new data throughput record last week  as Internet traffic across its switching fabric exceeded the 2 Tbps (terabits per second) mark for the first time.

The DE-CIX peering infrastructure has a star-shaped topology and is spread out over a total of twelve data centers operated by different providers in the Frankfurt metropolitan area.  The current 10G DWDM metro network is being upgraded to 100G channels.

ADVA said its100G Metro solution is built on 4x28G direct detection technology delivering four key efficiencies: cost, space, power and spectral. 


"We're seeing a continuous increase in data traffic with a growth rate of about 80% every year, an increase that shows no signs of slowing down," said Arnold Nipper, CTO at DE-CIX. "To meet this enormous surge in data it's critical that we migrate the core of our network. What's more, we need to do so in the most seamless manner possible. We have a record of 100% uptime and this is something we cannot risk. ADVA Optical Networking’s 100G Metro enables us to migrate our current 10G services while at the same time adding 100G capacity in the simplest manner possible. But it's the small footprint and the low power consumption of theADVA solution that make all the difference: ADVA Optical Networking is simply the only vendor out there with 100G in this form factor."

"DE-CIX is faced with aggressive data demands," said Detlev Schmidt, head of the AXIANS Business Unit Carrier & Service Provider. "Serving over 480 customers from more than 50 countries places unprecedented strains on its core network. To ensure that it can meet its customer expectations and scale for future growth, we're helping DE-CIX to build one of the most advanced networks of its kind. Centered upon the ADVA FSP 3000, DE-CIX is building its core infrastructure on a firm foundation: A 100G Metro foundation that has already been tested in some of the most demanding network environments."



  • Equipment deployed in the DE-CIX distributed fabric includes Force10 Networks' Terascale platform.

Australia's NBNCo Picks Cisco for MPLS


Australia's NBN Co has selected Cisco to supply MPLS-enabled routers and firewalls for its National Connectivity Network (NCN) in a deal estimated to be worth up to $38 million over five years. Cisco's solutions will be deployed in NBN Co's depot, aggregation nodes and other key locations and will support the Operations Support System (OSS) and Business Support System (BSS) platforms, signalling and timing.

Cisco said the win formally expands its role in Australia's NBN. In late 2010, a consortium led by Cisco was awarded the contract to provide NBN Co with a data centre platform. Together with its technology partners EMC and VMware, Cisco was commissioned to build a scalable platform to run essential applications, including network management, inventory management, customer care, billing, service provisioning and fulfilment systems, as well as a web portal to support customer self-service and the corporate website.

NBN Co's executive general manager of Network Architecture and Technology, Tony Cross, said: "We are pleased to extend our relationship with Cisco as a supplier of data centre infrastructure to include the supply of a high-performing, highly secure network foundation composed of switches, routers and firewalls to support our NCN."

http://www.cisco.com

BT Openreach Extends Fibre Rollout

BT Openreach is extending its fibre rollout to a further 163 exchange areas as part of BT’s £2.5bn Superfast initiative. So far, 11 million premises have access to Superfast broadband delivered via Openreach fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) or fibre to the premises (FTTP).  This extension, which will add more than one million homes and businesses to Openreach’s previously announced fibre footprint, covers exchanges spread across the UK from Torquay, in Devon, to Kilbirnie in Scotland.

Openreach aims to bring fibre broadband available to around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk

Monday, September 24, 2012

ECI Announces 100G Optimized Multi-Layer Transport Deployment in Romania

RCS& RDS, a leading cable operator in Romania, is using ECI Telecom's "Apollo" Optimized Multi-Layer Transport (OMLT) platforms to deploy 100G in its network. The 100G DWDM network connects core routers between Oradea to Bucharest -- about 700 km. The operator is using ECI's LightSoft Network Management System to simplify operations and reduce training and personnel expenses. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

ECI has worked with RCS & RDS for more than ten years, supplying them with multiservice provisioning and optical equipment, including its XDM and BG platforms.

  • In November 2011, ECI Telecom announced its next step beyond packet-optical transport system (P-OTS) with a new modular platform that integrates L0 to L3 functionality with a single management system for all layers. The Apollo Optimized Multi-Layer Transport system (OMLT) addresses metro core and regional networks for carriers shifting from traditional ring-based architecture to mesh-based and OTN switching architecture. With the OMLT, ECI's aim is to address shortcomings of packet-optical transport system (P-OTS), especially the need to deploy additional Carrier Ethernet platforms with separate management systems to support advanced data services. The OMLT reduces infrastructure costs by optimizing the whole (multi-layered) architecture instead of the individual parts (layers), while simplifying the provisioning of new wavelength, private line, L2 or L3 services. The OMLT features a Universal fabric supporting OTN, Ethernet and switching between the two. The control plane uses GMPLS across the data (MPLS-TP) and optical layers. 
    The Apollo product launch includes six platforms, along with the LightSoft unified network management system. LightSoft is a graphical automated end-to-end provisioning and management across network layers and technologies. LightSoft's multi-layer interface allows the user to get multiple physical and logical views of the network, facilitating the visualization of connections and correlations between different network layers.

China Mobile Hong Kong Deploys TD-LTE with ZTE


ZTE announced the deployment of the first multi-carrier TD-LTE network with China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK). This is the first TD-LTE network in Hong Kong. The network is also the first global multi-carrier, TD-LTE network.

In July, ZTE partnered with CMHK and Ericsson to announce a deal to deploy the TD-LTE network with a coverage area of more than 70 per cent of the territory. It marked the first time ZTE adopted a multi-carrier technology with a single wireless base station to support complex wireless communication conditions in Hong Kong. The CMHK LTE network is the first dual-mode network in the Asia-Pacific region and the first commercial TD-LTE network in Hong Kong.

ZTE  noted that it deployed TD-LTE trials and commercial networks for 33 leading operators in 19 countries, and won nine large-scale LTE-TDD commercial contracts worldwide.



SimpliVity Raises $25 Million for Software defined Data Center in a Box

SimpliVity, a start-up based in Westborough, MA, raised $25 million in Series B funding for its "OmniCube" Software Defined Data Center in a Box.  SimpliVity describes its OmniCube as the world’s first truly assimilated IT infrastructure platform.  


The 2U rack-mounted box delivers the functionality of more than 10 products for the virtual machine environment. This functionality encompasses enterprise computing, storage services and network functionality, inclusive of WAN optimization, Unified Global Management, Seamless Cloud Integration, Primary Storage Deduplication, Backup Deduplication, Caching, and Global Scale Out.  Multiple OmniCubes can be deployed together to form an OmniCube Global Federation, a massively scalable pool of shared resources that enables efficient data movement, extensive scalability, and enterprise-class system availability--all managed globally from a single interface.


The new funding was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and included existing investors Accel Partners and Charles River Ventures.  The company has raised $43 million to date. 

  • SimpliVity is headed by Mr. Doron Kempel, who previously was the Founder and CEO of Diligent Technologies, a specialist in Enterprise Data Deduplication that was acquired by IBM in April 2008. Prior to Diligent, Doron served as Vice President and General Manager at EMC.






Overture Appoints Mike Aquino as CEO


Overture Networks appointed Mike Aquino as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)  Co-founder and current CEO Jeff Reedy will continue with the company as Overture’s Chief Strategy Officer.
Aquino joins Overture from Ciena Corporation, where he held a number of executive positions, including Senior VP of Global Field Operations, General Manager of Global Government Solutions, and VP of Americas.  Prior to Ciena, Mr. Aquino held leadership positions at ONI Systems (acquired by Ciena), Bay Networks (acquired by Nortel Networks), and IBM Corporation.
“I’m excited to join the Overture team as President and CEO,” said Mr. Aquino. “Overture has an outstanding base of customers globally, comprised of wireline, wireless, and MSO service providers as well as government and municipality network operators. They’ve become a market leader by providing innovative Carrier Ethernet solutions. I look forward to leading Overture in continuing to broaden our customer base and enable service providers to leverage Carrier Ethernet to scale revenue, streamline operational costs, and deliver highly differentiated services to their end-user customers.”

DragonWave Cranks up Packet Microwave to 1.3 Gbps with 2048 QAM


DragonWave confirmed the functionality of higher modulation modes of up to 2048 QAM on its Horizon packet microwave products. 

In field tests conducted in Odessa, Ukraine, DragonWave's in-country partner UKRCOM and their customer, Intertelecom, demonstrated the radios’ ability to transport up to 37 percent more data through existing microwave channels. This testing was combined with dual channel operation and DragonWave’s unique Bandwidth Accelerator feature. 

DragonWave said the combination of these two features and the higher 2048 QAM modulation, offered an increase in capacity of greater than three times to more than 1.3 Gbps. This improves spectral efficiency and, correspondingly, lowers the operator’s cost per bit. 

DragonWave  noted that it has shipped over 800 Horizon links to Intertelecom through its local integration partner, UKRCOM to date.


“We explored other options for increasing link capacity such as XPIC, but we soon realized that DragonWave’s solution of coupling higher modulation modes with Hitless Automatic Adaptive Modulation allows us to meet the growing backhaul demands without needing to re-engineer existing links or purchase additional radios,” said Boris Akulov, CEO at Intertelecom.  “In effect, we have found a very cost efficient and streamlined means to triple our network capacity.”

“The successful field testing of 2048 QAM marks another milestone in DragonWave being first to market with technology and innovation that sets us apart from the competition,” said DragonWave CEO Peter Allen. “We congratulate our Ukrainian customers on their performance results and are encouraged to be expanding our market share in an important and growing region for microwave transport.”

Mavenir's Circuit Switch Fallback (CSFB) Optimizes LTE Smartphones

Until voice over LTE (VoLTE) services become available, carriers are supporting voice and SMS for the new crop of 4G LTE smartphones, such as iPhone 5, by using their legacy 3G core infrastructure.  One disadvantage, according to Mavenir Systems, is that two radios may be active on the handset -- one for LTE and one for the legacy 3G -- in order to handle the voice and SMS signalling and traffic.

Mavenir proposes a Circuit Switch Fallback (CSFB) solution that overlays the legacy infrastructure that enables delivery of circuit-switched voice services to LTE handsets by triggering "fall back" to the 3G network to complete voice calls.  With CSFB, operators can immediately support new LTE-enabled smartphones, such as the newly announced iPhone 5, for voice and SMS in advance of IMS-based VoLTE solutions that won’t be widely available until 2014.  This overlay approach does not impact the MSC core and means that the operator will not have to invest more in its legacy

Mavenir said it already has several live CSFB deployments with tier 1 operators in multiple countries. Several more are expected to go live in 2012. 

“Our value proposition is combining proven CSFB technology with our speed to market and the ease of integrating into 4G LTE networks.” said Pardeep Kohli, president and chief executive officer of Mavenir Systems. “Our IWF CSFB function helps the network economics of introducing new LTE services quickly and cost effectively. This is the first step for many operators, but they can easily leverage this Mavenir CSFB investment along the path to SRVCC and VoLTE.”

Equinix Builds Out its London Data Center


Equinix has added 4,000 square meters of data center space with capacity for 1,400 cabinets to its London LD5 International Business Exchange data center.  Once the fourth and final phase of the build-out is completed, LD5 will provide 16,000 square meters of customer space, with capacity for 5,600 cabinets in total.
The Equinix LD5 facility is located on same campus in Slough, England, as the LD4 data center.  The Equinix campus is linked by more than 1,000 diverse dark fiber links into Central London with global access to more than 900 network providers.  The location (just outside of London) provides access to transatlantic cables for low-latency connections to New York. 
The LD5 expansion also features 130 dedicated Business Continuity Trading desks, providing comprehensive connectivity-rich emergency trading capabilities for financial services firms.
“Our LD5 expansion sits in one of the largest and fastest growing data center markets in the world, with increasing customer demand for capacity. This facility allows us to offer highly resilient and secure colocation facilities and to add sector-specific enhancements and features as we go,” said Russell Poole, managing director, Equinix UK. “Financial market participants and service providers are key growth drivers currently, and they are experiencing growing regulatory pressure to put business continuity capacity in place. This is why our latest build-out features are what we believe is the most comprehensive and best-connected business continuity offering in the London market today.”

Verizon to Pay $250 Million to TiVO to Resolve Patent Dispute


Verizon Communications has agreed to pay at least $250.4 million to TiVo under a mutual patent licensing deal.
The payments from Verizon to TiVo will include a $100 million initial cash payment followed by recurring quarterly payments totaling an additional $150.4 million through July 2018. 
Verizon will also pay monthly license fees through July 2018 for each Verizon DVR subscriber in excess of certain pre-determined levels.
In addition to the cash payments described above, Verizon and TiVo are exploring, among other things, a future distribution partnership.
"We are pleased to reach an agreement with Verizon which underscores the significant value our distribution partners derive from TiVo's technological innovations and our shareholders derive from our investments in protecting TiVo's intellectual property," said Tom Rogers, CEO and President of TiVo. "We also look forward to working together on a variety of future opportunities as we continue to expand the content choices available to TiVo subscribers."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Case for the Big GEs... and IP-over-DWDM

by Sultan Dawood, Solutions Marketing Manager, SP Marketing Cisco Systems

No one knows better than the readers of this publication about the importance of Gigabit networks. The emergence of 10 Gigabit (10 G) links in big networks began more than 10 years ago, and seemed like enough capacity, for a long time.

But that was then. In today’s optical conversations, talk tends to center on 40/100 Gig links, all the way up to Terabit advancements. Why? The volume of consumer and business usage of bandwidth is astounding, on fixed and mobile networks. Upwards of 50% CAGR per year, on some portions of the “big” Internet, like last-mile access networks.

If history is any indicator, doomed is the man or woman who publicly wonders why on earth so much capacity is needed. In the 1960s, cable television providers wondered why they’d ever need to build for more than 12 (analog!) channels. Back in the early days of dial-up data connections, some wondered why we’d ever need to go beyond 56 kbps. We’ve seen this “I’ll eat my hat” scenario over and over, in the course of network expansion.

Because the majority of today’s transport networks are conveying data using 10 Gig networks, and at the same time are facing unprecedented volumes of usage, decisions about expansion tend to center on three known options:

1) Add more 10 Gig links
2) Go straight to 100 Gig
3) Find a stepping stone path to 100 Gig via 40 Gig

What is perhaps lesser known are the decision sets and resultant economic impacts of getting to 40/100 GigE, using existing routers, minus the provisioning and maintenance of electrical-to-optical-to-electrical conversion transponders, minus the operational expenses involved with maintaining what is essentially two disparate transport networks.

If you remember one thing about this article, please make it be this: by converging the optical and IP layers of the network, capex and opex costs can be trimmed by 25-30%, according to our ongoing and live research with service providers. Path identification (traditionally handled within the “transport silo”) happens much more quickly; apps and services (handled within the “data services silo”) move more securely.

Consider: What if you could turn up a link to a customer in minutes -- not months?

IP over DWDM is an innovative option (we’d argue the option) that economically justifies 40/100 Gig adoption, by reducing additional unnecessary equipment and associated interfaces including optics – thus lowering requirements for additional power, cooling and space. It’s been proven that integrating optical intelligence into a router makes it cognizant of any optical path degradation. That means routers can proactively ensure that any apps and services in transit are protected from degradation or failure.

Why: The forward error correction (FEC) intelligence as a result of integration of optical into the routers will provide awareness to automatically switch to a secondary, safer path, before any optical impairments impact any app or service performance.

So we won’t venture into questions of whether 40/100 Gig networks are necessary. Instead we’ll look at what’s driving the world’s data capacity needs, then examine the options in getting into “the big GEs,” including the substantial economic benefits associated with converging the optical and IP layers.

The Capacity Drivers

At least three factors are driving the world’s explicit and implicit obsession with network capacity: Device proliferation, video as an app, and the data centers fueling cloud computing.

Think about the number of IP-connectable devices in your home or business, 10 years ago, compared to now. All of them want Internet connectivity – some more so than others.

Plus, most gadgets in the device ecosystem are mobile. Not long ago, we connected to the Internet when we went to the office, or were at home. Fixed connections – personal computers, tower computers, laptops to some extent. Internet wasn’t an option when outdoors, or when driving, to navigate via GPS, or find a restaurant, or locate friends.

Our ongoing VNI (Visual Networking Index) research indicates that by 2016, there will exist nearly 19 billion global network connections – enough for 2.5 per person, in the world. (Click here for more VNI information: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-481360_ns827_Networking_Solutions_White_Paper.html)

Capacity Driver #2: Video

Driver number two dovetails with the first one: Video. With more and more powerful, HD video-capable screens fetching and tossing big streams of data in and out of whomever’s data cloud, the question of how and when to scale the network is more relevant than ever.

Beyond the 50+% compound annual growth in broadband usage – wired and wireless – new pressure points are arriving into the consumer and business marketplaces with alarming regularity.

Consider the spate of recent announcements from consumer electronics and PC makers about putting high-resolution screens into handhelds, tablets, laptops and televisions. High-rez screens means high-rez streams.

Indeed, smart phones and tablets impact real-time network capacity in a big way, because most include still and video cameras, capturing images and sound in SD and HD. Video eats up capacity like nothing else (so far.) Already, and again according to our ongoing VNI research, more streamed video is done in HD than SD.

At the high end of the video spectrum, the 2012 trade show scene is producing regular headlines about the pursuit of 4K resolution.

Even using the best compression on the market today (which goes variously by H.264, AVC and MPEG-4), a 4K stream “weighs” as much as 17 Mbps. Compare that to today’s 1-3 Mbps carrying capacity, for “regular” HD video compressed with H.264/AVC.

Yes, H.265 compression is on the way, which will do for H.264 what it did for MPEG-2 – but still. The point is that network bandwidth is under enormous strain right now, with no signs of easing up.

Capacity Driver #3: Clouds and Data Centers

Consider: Networks used to move static web pages, or haul 64 kbps telephone conversations, or broadcast (in a one-to-many sense) SD video. These days, they do all that plus stream HD, (unicast and multicast) video to high resolution displays. They haul video phone conversations. They carry adaptive bit rate video, which by its nature behaves like a gas, filling all available space.

Plus, big networks traditionally were “silo’ed,” with transport and data departments and people operating largely independent of one another. Not so anymore. Why: The fetching of a web page is one thing – simple, isochronous, not a huge strain on the network.

Today’s emerging applications are another story entirely, segueing into transport-heavy fare like the shipping or storing of enormous amounts of digital stuff – think digital pictures, videos, and cloud-based storage in general . Transport-heavy networks needs require mutual and simultaneous attention, from both “data” and “path/transport” departments in the organization.

“The cloud,” in all its iterations, then, is capacity driver number 3. Clouds, and the data centers that enable them, are both sourcing more network traffic -- and struggling under its weight. Anyone building a cloud designed to service big geographic areas will need multiple data centers that are interconnected – preferably intelligently.

Today’s data centers are connected via a combination of routers and transport networks. Connecting Router A in Data Center A to Router B in Data Center B, for instance, requires transport infrastructure. Traditionally and so far, that transport has been 10 Gig.

However, as bandwidth demands increase, with routers leveraging 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and data centers moving large volumes of content, it would make sense to increase the transport network capacity and transition from 10G to 100G DWDM. To add further to that thought, it is also possible to integrate optical interfaces directly into routers, thus offering an innovative and green approach as well as a truly integrated solution that in turn justifies a faster and more cohesive transition to 40/100 G links.

The Meaning and Importance of Coherence in Optical Transmission Systems

In optical terms, “coherence” refers to the ability of a lightwave to produce interference patterns that work in favor of the intended signal. Coherent optical communications products arrived in the marketplace roughly coincident with 40/100 Gig networks, because they are intrinsically suited for very long-haul networks – upwards of 500 km and higher.

Any time signals are distributed over very long distances, however, two things can happen that compromise performance. First is plant anomolies, which cause signal strength to lag. That necessitates amplification, but amplifiers boost both the intended signal, and any noise that is present. Dispersion compensation is then required, to compensate for impairments.

These impairment compensation activities do not come for free – especially when the distance in question is measured in thousands of kilometers. That’s why service providers considering the shift to 40/100G seek ways to do so without adding additional equipment for signal impairment compensation.

Service providers seek the most economical, yet best performing signals that can exist on their network as a way to control total cost of ownership, by adding 40/100 Gig capabilities to existing routers and over existing infrastructure – even if the fiber plant is marginal in places.

This is where coherent optical systems really shine. We’ve seen (because we built) 100 Gbps connectivity over a 3,000 km link, on top of existing 10 Gbps fiber infrastructure, that is vendor-independent. (More here: http://bit.ly/PndKol)

Here’s a real-world example: You’re running a video connection to a customer. It’s an MPLS tunnel mapped onto an optical wavelength. Let’s say that fiber degrades. With the forward error correction (FEC) techniques within IP-DWDM, thresholds can be set ahead of time, to default to another optical path.

Maybe the pre-FEC value is 10-17 , but at 10-19 the router knows to switch the video connection to a cleaner path – proactively. Having ways to set thresholds and interact between layers ensures that the video connection stays solid – and your customer has no idea that a problem almost occurred.

Now What? Harmonizing Optical and Packet Transport

We’ve talked about capacity drivers, and the benefits of IP-DWDM as a way to get to 40/100 Gig- without stranding prior investments in routers or optics. The fact is that the dominant type of traffic on broadband networks today is packet-based; existing optical networks aren’t as well suited for packet-based delivery than other types of traffic.

This is how IP-DWDM began, for what it’s worth. Service providers asked how to bulk up capacity without disrupting capital or operational spending. How to save money in a packet environment led to the need to do certain things differently, which led to the development of IP-DWDM.

Because of that, the drumbeat toward converging the optical and IP domains began, as a way to reduce capital and operational costs, as well as to have a better handle on network controls. Equally relevant: The ability to launch new services/apps more quickly, and more securely. IP over DWDM is one example of this convergence, which provides between 25-35% in capital and opex spending, combined.

Perhaps some day it will seem quaint, that at one time network architects were debating the convergence of the optical and IP layers in long-haul transport. But for now, the decision to go with IP-DWDM is still a bit maverick, for those going through it.

Why? Because getting there involves cutting across people and organizational domains. Never easy to do. Despite ongoing proof that a) 100 Gig gear exists that works over distances of 3,000 km, without need for signal compensation, and b) IP-DWDM is a cleaner solution, because it eliminates excess optical equipment and interfaces, and c) its pre-FEC can proactively re-route mission-critical data before signal paths become impaired, IP-DWDM is still in the “crawl” portion of any “crawl-walk-run” technological evolution.

We’ll end with this: Service providers will continue to sprint to keep up with capacity, and to compete with new, over-the-top providers. A more integrated and converged network lends itself better to the packet-based traffic loads of today. It scales for the future, and it saves capital and operational costs. Because one thing is certain: Data loads are not letting up anytime soon.


Sultan Dawood holds the position of Senior Marketing Manager for Core Routing and Transport Solutions at Cisco Systems. He has spent the last 18 years of his career focused on data networking and telecommunication systems working closely with both Enterprise and Service Provider customers. Prior to Cisco, Sultan held senior marketing and engineering positions at Hammerhead Systems, Motorola, 3COM, ADC Telecommunications and Litton Systems.

Sultan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is also a Board member and the Vice President of Marketing for the Broadband Forum.

See also