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%.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Infinera Charts Network Transformation with PICs for Sliceable Photonics

Infinera unveiled two photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for new optical transport systems and line cards scheduled for delivery later this year. The introductions include a sliceable, enhanced PIC, ePIC-500, and an application-optimized PIC, oPIC-100.

Infinera said its new sliceable photonics technology enables the large pool of capacity in a PIC to be divided at a granular optical level.  Each slice can routed in a different direction as it exits the line card or the system housing, usually at the hub. The recipient of the individual slice is a line card or system that matches the capacity, usually at the spoke. For instance, a 500G superchannel originating at a hub location could be sliced into 100G chunks for delivery to multiple spokes.

The new ePIC-500 provides sliceable 500G capacity at the hub location, while the new oPIC-100 provides 100G capacity at the spoke location. While these two new PICs are applicable across all network locations they were developed specifically to support Layer T in the metro.

The introductions come as Infinera positions for a major transformation in network architecture driven by scale and virtualization.  Infinera sees the emergence of two layers:
  • Layer C -- a cloud services layer that supports NFV plus other Cloud delivered services  
  • Layer T --  the transport layer, which is founded on scalable photonics capable of delivering more capacity per line card and system while simplifying the network.
Infinera believes that PICs are integral to the evolution of the transport network and provide significant benefits when integrated into a packet-optical DWDM transport system, there creating an efficient Layer T and ultimately allowing Layer C to thrive.

The company said it has modeled a wide range of applications from metro aggregation to regional long-haul where hub-and-spoke, mesh or ring topologies are common. When using the new PICs, these models showed an estimated average reduction of 28 percent in modules, 31 percent in power and 45 percent in bandwidth inefficiencies as compared to conventional, commercial off the shelf technologies that deliver single-wavelength or super-channel solutions for 100G, 200G or 400G.

“Infinera has been shipping PICs in transport systems, that have been designed from the ground-up, for over a decade," said Dave Welch, co-founder and president at Infinera. "During this time the technology has surpassed over 1.5 billion hours of field operations. Sliceable photonics allows our customers to build networks with scale and flexibility for a wide variety of applications ranging from the metro to the long-haul. It provides a comprehensive tool set for us to be nimble and build market-specific platforms for Layer T as our customers’ needs continue to evolve."


Apigee Files for IPO - APIs + Predictive Analytics

Apigee, a start-up based in San Jose, California, filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock.

 The company's Apigee Edge API platform helps enterprises to build mobile and digital initiatives using APIs, apps and data. Apigee Insights delivers big data predictive analytics. Apigee says that when used together, its APIs and predictive analytics can create an adaptive cycle of continuous improvement – and the faster an enterprise goes through this cycle, the faster it can innovate, adapt and accelerate its digital business. http://apigee.com/

  • In April 2014, Apigee announced $60 million in new venture financing for its API platform for enabling predictive analytics in digital interactions. Pine River Capital Management and Wellington Management Company participated as new investors in this round, along with current Apigee investors Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Bay Partners, Third Point LLC, SAP Ventures, funds managed by BlackRock, Focus Ventures, and Accenture. This brought Apigee's total funding to $171 as of April 2014. 

Corning Intros SMF-28 Ultra 200 Fiber

Corning introduced the industry’s first 200-micron fiber with a 9.2 micron nominal mode-field diameter (MFD).

The new Corning SMF-28 Ultra 200 fiber enables the design of smaller, lighter, fully backwards compatible high-fiber, high-density cables. The company said its new fiber complies with the ITU-T G.657.A1 specification while also delivering enhanced bend resistance and seamless integration with the installed ITU-T G.652 fiber base in a 200-micron product. In addition, Corning claims the fiber’s low attenuation improves signal reach up to 10 percent over conventional ITU-T G.652 fiber types and increases coverage as much as 20 percent when served by a point-of-presence or central office.

“Corning SMF-28 Ultra 200 fiber helps solve one of the world’s toughest network challenges – increasing fiber capacity without taking up more space,” said John Igel, vice president and general manager of Corning Optical Fiber and Cable. “With the problem of MFD compatibility eliminated, network operators have the freedom to deploy fiber-rich 200-micron cables to address capacity and congestion – with the proven performance of SMF-28 Ultra fiber.”

Corning's SMF-28 Ultra fiber portfolio can be used for high-performance applications at 100G and beyond, and for next-generation passive optical networks (PONs) and wavelength division multiplexed passive optical networks (WDM-PONs).


NTT Electronics Delivers 20nm Low-Power Coherent DSP

NTT Electronics (NEL) announced the commercial release of its second generation, 20nm low-power coherent DSP for use in high-port-density 100G metro transport systems. The device was developed by NEL in collaboration with Broadcom.

The new NLD0640 Gen2 LP-DSP features integrated 100GE transponder capability, full coverage of operation modes such as the lowest power 80-km ZR mode and power-managed metro mode for distances up to 1200km, and digital equalizer compensating electrical signal distortion to-and-from 100G pluggable Analog Coherent Optics (ACO).  The LP-DSP uses Broadcom's signal-processing-enhanced mixed-signal technologies to intensify the coherent processing core, which has already been widely deployed as NEL's first generation 40nm DSP product NLD0629 Gen1 DSP3.

“I am glad to see that our initiative, to make merchant Silicon DSP solution available for every manufacturer, has evolved into this new generation.” said Masahito Tomizawa, Executive Manager of NTT Network Innovation Laboratories. “Digital coherent is an optical communications innovation, not only for enabling 100 Gbps per wavelength, but also for enabling interoperability among multi-source pluggable coherent optics using lower-cost technologies such as compound semiconductor and silicon photonics. One of my laboratories has already confirmed successful interoperability of the new NLD0640 Gen2 LP-DSP not only with multi-source CFP2-ACO’s but also with other CFP-DCO employing its in-house DSP ASIC.”


New Celtic-Plus GOLD Project Continues Work on G.fast

Celtic-Plus, an industry-driven European research initiative, announced results and future plans of G.fast lab trials. A new Gigabits Over the Legacy Drop (GOLD) project will initiate the planned second version of the G.fast standard. This builds on a recently completed HFCC/G.fast project, which demonstrated throughput of nearly 1Gbps per copper pair at 100 meters, and up to 170Mbps per copper pair at 480 meters, on a 16 pair standard cable.

Sckipio said these tests used its technology.

Some highlights:

  • The 4.2 Million euro Celtic-Plus project HFCC/G.fast (Hybrid Fibre-Copper connectivity using G.fast) brought together 14 organizations from nine countries and included Ericsson AB (SE), ADTRAN GmbH (DE), BT (UK), Dension Broadband Systems Kft (HU), EUR AB (SE), Orange SA (FR), Lund University (SE), Marvell Semiconductor (ES), Fundacion Tecnalia Research and Innovation (ES), Telefonica I+D (ES), Telnet Redes Inteligentes SA (ES), TNO (NL), FTW Telecommunications Research Center Vienna (AU) and Sckipio Technologies (IL).
  • The 4.4 million euro Celtic-Plus project GOLD (Gigabits Over the Legacy Drop) brings together 12 companies from 8 countries including service providers BT (UK), Orange SA (FR); equipment vendors ADTRAN GmbH (DE), Alcatel-Lucent (BE), Ericsson AB (SE), Sagemcom (FR), and Telnet Redes Inteligentes SA (ES); chip vendors Marvell Semiconductors (ES) and Sckipio Technologies (IL); and researchers at Lund University (SE) and TNO (NL). The 3-year project, which is coordinated by Lund University, will run until December 2017.


Dell Hires a Cisco Exec as CTO of its Enterprise Solutions Group

Dell announced the appointment of Paul Pérez as Chief Technology Officer of its Enterprise Solutions Group, where he will focus on leading the architecture, design and build-out of the next wave of Dell’s future-ready data center technologies. He joins Dell from Cisco Systems where he most recently served as vice president and general manager for the company’s Computing Systems Product Group, responsible for the UCS server and management portfolio. Also at Cisco, Mr. Pérez served as Chief Technology Officer for its Data Centre Business Group, where he oversaw the company’s technology strategy for converged infrastructure, virtualization and private cloud automation. Prior to Cisco, Mr. Pérez was the Chief Technologist at Hewlett-Packard for its ProLiant and BladeSystem infrastructure.

Dell also announced that Rory P. Read will become Chief Operating Officer and President of Worldwide Commercial Sales and will have responsibility for Dell’s global go-to-market initiatives, omni-channel sales planning and enablement. He joins Dell after a 30-year career with global technology companies such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Lenovo and IBM. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President at AMD, Chief Operating Officer and President at Lenovo, and had IBM Business Services leadership responsibilities in the Asia-Pacific region. He is an accomplished industry executive who has led companies through rapid growth and evolving markets.


Amazon Names First Six AWS Managed Service Program Providers

Amazon named the first six companies to be admitted into its new AWS Managed Service Partner program:

  • 2nd Watch
  • Datapipe
  • Smartronix
  • Cascadeo
  • Day1 Solutions
  • RightBrain Networks

To become an approved member of this program, partners must pass an independent audit of their AWS Managed Service capability.


CableLabs Joins NYU's 5G Research Program

CableLabs, the nonprofit research consortium for the cable industry, has joined NYU's research center as it drives development of 5G technology.

NYU WIRELESS, which was launched by the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering in August 2012, is developing fundamental science and mathematical channel models needed to create 5G equipment.

CableLabs becomes the 12th industry affiliate sponsor of the research center, joining Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, and others, as the industry starts to look beyond 4G and LTE-A, in pursuit of faster connections and greater access.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blueprint: The Future of Cloud Communications

by Pejman Roshan, VP of product management at ShoreTel

Who knows what the future holds? Analysts look for the future in current trends, and businesses attempt to create it by meeting their customers’ present needs. At ShoreTel, we make no claims of omniscience, though we do boast a record of impressive foresight into the future of cloud communications, and strive to make that future a reality.

Hybrid UC

The future does not lie solely in the cloud or on-premises; rather, patterns point toward hybrid solutions being the way of the future. The cloud is an incredibly useful tool for storing, accessing, and managing virtualized applications and data. Yet at the same time, on-site phone systems still offer control, availability and resiliency that softphones can’t guarantee. Fortunately, the choice isn’t an either/or situation, and one can get both through a hybrid cloud communications platform.

However, not all hybrid solutions offer the same balance of cloud and premises features, and are often weighted more toward one or the other – based in the cloud with some on-premises features, or vice-versa. So while hybrid will see more growth than cloud or premises solutions on their own, users will be free to decide what balance works best for them. Regardless of what they go with, though, there’s little doubt that vendors offering hybrid solutions will be set for success.

As communications become a blend of physical and virtual, the workspace will follow. The cloud will continue to expand as more users migrate to it, bringing their work and tools with them. Their own “personal” clouds will be a combination of the various components they need, so working virtually is as effective as working from a corporate office. We’re already seeing a continuous rise in mobility, and it shows no signs of slowing, which will lead to a growing virtual workspace that complements and works in tandem with the physical office.


In order to support the mobile BYOD environment, applications that let people communicate through and between their various personal devices will be necessary. IT departments will need to put more focus on software apps for that, but technology like WebRTC will make it easier to launch Web collaboration meetings right from the client, which will in turn make it easier to create and join meetings.

Yet no matter what tools you can use to work and communicate with, the user experience can make or break the technology. Now that technology is at the point where we can reach across cyberspace to work and collaborate from anywhere, it needs to be doable in a way that doesn’t drive users mad.

The way we see it at ShoreTel, the best way to provide a good user experience is through a good interface. You need a clean user interface, one that makes good use of space to remain clear and easy to use, which remains singular for different modes of communication. The less people have to switch between screens, apps and interfaces, the better the experience will be for them, which leads to improved efficiency and growth all around.

With all this advancement, what will Unified Communications become? It is our view that UC will advance beyond merely transmitting information back and forth, but will incorporate intelligent organization, providing vital context and sorting for the information transmitted. Unified Communications will continue to grow and incorporate both cloud and premises-based communication platforms and include an ecosystem of integrated applications.

The future is not some far-off thing these days; our predictions follow current trends to see what this year will contain, so in many regards, we are already living in it. It’s never too soon to prepare for what’s ahead, so the time is right to get ahead of the curve.

About the Author

Pejman Roshan is the VP of product management at ShoreTel, where he is responsible for product strategy, definition and delivery for ShoreTel’s unified communications cloud and premises product lines.

About ShoretTel

ShoreTel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR) is a leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems and unified communications solutions. Its award-winning on-premises IP-PBX solution and cloud-based hosted phone system eliminate complexity and improve productivity. Recognized for its industry-leading customer experience and support, ShoreTel’s innovative business phones, application integration, collaboration tools, mobility, and contact center applications enable users to communicate and collaborate no matter the time, place or device, with minimal demand on IT resources. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit www.shoretel.com

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Acacia Announces Coherent 400G Transceiver Module

Acacia Communications introduced the first flex-rate coherent 400G Transceiver module. Sampling is underway and generally availability is expected in Q2-2015.

The new transceiver, which targets LH/ULH, metro and Data Center Interconnect networks, is powered by the industry’s first dual-core ASIC supporting two optical channels and up to 400Gbit/s capacity including a clear channel single 400Gbps traffic flow, optimized for IP packet transport. Built-in framing functionality supports 100G and 400G OTN and Ethernet clients.

“100G coherent transceivers are currently being deployed in large volumes in long haul, metro and Data Center Interconnect networks,” said Acacia Communications President and CEO Raj Shanmugaraj. “With the availability of Acacia’s low cost flex-rate coherent AC-400 MSA module, we expect to bring even better economies for coherent applications at multiple rates from 100G to 400G.  Powered by the Acacia’s ASIC/DSP and extensive silicon photonic integration for metro and Data Center Interconnect applications, we have been able to extend the performance advantages of an AC-400 module while reducing cost, size and power consumption dramatically. Our new AC-400 provides carriers and content providers with a compelling solution to cost-effectively address capacity needs in their ULH/LH, metro and Data Center Interconnect networks.”

“The ability to launch 400G off a 5x7 Transceiver Module with advanced features like 8QAM and low power is well timed with the growth of the Data Center Interconnect transport market and Acacia’s flexibility to scale from 100G to 400G is a major advantage,” said Simon Stanley, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading. “The module demonstrates Silicon Photonics PIC performance for the higher order modulation schemes and makes solutions like these very cost-effective for the market.”


OpenOptics MSA Consortium Releases WDM Spec for DCI

The OpenOptics MSA Consortium has published the first foundational Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) specification for an interoperable 100G WDM standard for 2 kilometer reach, addressing data center interconnect (DCI) requirements.

RANOVUS said this new WDM specification brings together 1550nm WDM laser and silicon photonics for QSFP and optical engine based solutions, enabling lowest-cost, highest density, and highest bandwidth with single mode fiber pair connectivity, to enable data centers to use up to 32 or more channels per fiber strand.

“Our OpenOptics MSA collaboration with industry leaders has resulted in the definition of a foundational WDM specification for data center network connectivity, and having terabit scalability on a single mode fiber pair infrastructure,” said Saeid Aramideh, chief marketing and sales officer for RANOVUS.  “The availability of this specification is a major milestone for our industry which we believe will not only accelerate the adoption of silicon-photonics based WDM solutions for the data center market, but also allow for a scalable terabit infrastructure for next generation datacenter architectures.”
“Previously, there was no standard for anything beyond 100Gbs,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “Now, the industry will have an architecture standard that scales to a terabit and beyond on existing fiber, substantially reduces the cost of hyperscale data center networks.”


Earlier this month, the OpenOptics Multi-Source Agreement group said it plans to contribute its developed wavelength specifications to the Open Compute Project (OCP). The new specification enables data to be streamed at terabits per second over a single fiber.

The founders and supporters for the OpenOptics MSA for Highly Scalable Interconnect Solutions include Mellanox Technologies, RANOVUS, Ciena, Oracle, Vertilas, and Ghiasi Quantum. The MSA combines 1550 nm WDM laser and silicon photonics for optical networking solutions enabling the lowest cost, highest density, and highest bandwidth single mode fiber (SMF) connectivity, significantly improving terabit-scale data center infrastructure ROI.


NeoPhotonics Intros Low Power 100G Transceiver

NeoPhotonics introduced a new compact and dual rate 100G CFP4 LR4 that requires much less power and is half the size compared to the current generation CFP2 form factor.

The new 100G CFP4 transceiver module, which is targeted at both telecom and datacom applications, is designed to fully comply with the IEEE 802.3 100GBASE-LR4 and CAUI-4 Electrical Interface and OTN OTU4 standards for links up to 10km.  It combines CFP4 MSA and MDIO functionality and is interoperable with previous generation of CFP and CFP2 modules.  The 4-channel PIC-based integrated transmitter utilizes NeoPhotonics proven performance and high volume manufacturing platform of 28G EML lasers and drivers, which enable the best in class module performance, especially in OTN applications, inter-operabability and easy deployment.

“The introduction of our new 100G CFP4 LR4 Client transceiver module underlines our commitment to the ultra-high speed segment of the transceiver market,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics.  “We are pleased to support our customers with their growing demand for 100G by adding production capacity for our CFP2 LR4, which was released last year,” continued Tim Jenks.

In addition, NeoPhotonics announced a micro-Integrated Coherent Receiver (Micro-ICR) which is designed to fully support the OIF implementation agreement OIF-DPC-MRX-02.0, Type 1. The Micro-ICR has a compact form factor that is approximately one quarter the size of the standard OIF 1.2 Type 1 ICR and one half the size of the new OIF 1.2 Type 2 ICR. It is designed to be used in coherent analog CFP2-ACO pluggable modules as well as in high density line cards.

This week at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference in Los Angeles, Neophotonics also plans to demo a 16x16 multicast switch (MCS) without drop side amplifiers. The 16x16 MCS will consist of four modular 4x16 MCSs which can be cascaded to encompass 16 directions.