Category Archives: Communication industry

Updates from Ciena

Pluggables: Their role in coherent technology evolution

By Patricia Bower – In the optical networking industry, pluggable client optical modules are a dominant trend for very short links within buildings and campus networks. Market economics that have driven the proliferation of these pluggables include factors such as simplicity, interoperability and volume-driven cost. And in the domain of short-reach (sub-10km), point-to-point fiber optic connections, the advantages listed above for using small form-factor, pluggable modules shine through.

This is particularly so in the case where transport of high-speed Ethernet client signals is the primary requirement. Connectivity within and between data centers has grown at a very rapid rate over the last few years, both from the perspective of transmission speed and number of connections. The use of optical signaling to transport these high-speed Ethernet signals has proven to be very efficient.

The optical networking industry has a well-established and large ecosystem of vendors bringing small form-factor client modules to market. Many of these are supported by MSAs (Multi-Source Agreements) which can be one of two types; those that define optical transmission specifications and those that define mechanical forms.

More recently, the data rates supported by pluggable form factors have increased.  The 100G Lambda MSA group, of which Ciena is a member, has exhibited live demonstrations of interoperable Ethernet modules from member companies.  The 100G Lambda MSA specifies 100Gb/s over 2km and 10km of single-mode fiber (SMF), and 400 Gb/s links over 2km of SMF.  These modules will be based on the use of PAM-4 coding to get to a data rate of 100Gbps per wavelength. more>

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Updates from ITU

Monitoring our changing planet
By Houlin Zhao – The Earth is a fragile planet with finite resources to sustain the world’s growing population. As we work together to build a sustainable global economy, spaceborne remote sensors are poised to play an increasingly important role in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Indeed, ITU Member States and the global community now see the potential for using Earth observations and geospatial information as fundamental inputs for achieving the SDGs. Remote sensing provides critical information across a wide range of applications, including air quality, disaster management, public health, agriculture, water availability, coastal zone management, and the health of the Earth’s ecosystems.

For example, spaceborne sensing data is used to assess the impact of natural disasters and to be better prepared for hazardous events around the globe. Data from spaceborne remote sensors is also increasingly used to guide efforts to minimize the damage that urban growth has on the environment.

These are just a few examples of how remote sensing measurements — and the science they enable — provide a great service to humanity. This edition of the ITU News Magazine provides more such examples and a wealth of insight into how ITU’s work helps realize the social and economic benefits of Earth observation from space. more (pdf)>

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Updates from Ciena

The implications behind service and content provider requirements for coherent optical solutions
By Helen Xenos – In 2007, I was asked to write a white paper about this really cool new “coherent technology” our team was working on and explain how the coherent receiver would completely revolutionize optical networks as we knew them. As I tried to get started, I quickly learned that the only source for content were the engineers actually working on the project – my efforts of scrolling through pages upon Google search pages netted zero information.
Article
The evolving coherent optical networking landscape: a deep dive

In the end, I wrote the paper by transcribing what a dear co-worker and mentor, Michel Belanger, who was one of the designers, patiently explained to me (it took several hours). He made sure I understood the significance of coherent technology and how it would change the game in optical networks.

Fast forward a dozen years – there is no shortage of information pertaining to coherent technology, and there are about a dozen coherent module and system suppliers. Coherent optical systems have become the networking foundation that underpins the digital economy that we know today.

Network providers are ubiquitously deploying coherent to scale networks for capacity, reduce transport costs and provide a better end-user experience to their customers. In fact, they are now looking at expanding the role that coherent technology plays in the network and deploy it in space and power/optimized applications in addition to traditional infrastructure, submarine and data center interconnect (DCI) build-outs.

As coherent technology plays an increasingly critical role for successful network evolution, we must step back and ask ourselves:

  • What do network providers need from their coherent solution partners to succeed?
  • What are the implications of the divergent customer and networking requirements to the suppliers of the technology?

more>

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Updates from ITU

Time to eliminate the password: New report on next-generation authentication for digital financial services
By ITU News – “We don’t want digital financial services to be built on the wrong foundation, which is the password,” says Abbie Barbir, Rapporteur for ITU standardization work on ‘Identity management architecture and mechanisms’ (Q10/17).

Over 3 billion usernames and passwords were stolen in 2016, and the number of data breaches in 2017 rose 44.7 per cent higher than that recorded in 2016.

“We are moving away from the ‘shared secret’ model of authentication,” says digital ID strategist and standards expert, Andrew Hughes of InTurn Consulting, referring principally to the username-password model of authentication.

“Considering the prevalence of data breaches, there are no secrets anymore,” says Hughes.

Designed to overcome the limitations of passwords, specifications developed by the FIDO Alliance (‘Fast Identity Online’) enable users to authenticate locally to their device using biometrics, with the device then authenticating the user online with public key cryptography.

This model is not susceptible to phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks or other forms of attacks targeting user credentials.

“This is the biggest transformation we have seen in authentication in 20 years,” says Jeremy Grant, Managing Director of Technology Business Strategy at Venable. more>

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Updates from Ciena

4 critical requirements for the next-gen photonic layer
By Paulina Gomez – Today’s market dynamics are making it harder for network providers to effectively compete in an environment where revenue per bit is declining, and network bandwidth requirements are exploding. In the face of these business challenges, network providers are realizing they must evolve and transform their networks towards a more programmable infrastructure that can scale and respond on demand, to meet changing customer expectations and unpredictable traffic requirements.

While coherent optics are a critical element in enabling a programmable optical infrastructure, alone they are not enough to fulfill operators’ requirements for successful network transformation.

So what else is needed?

The photonic layer is the foundation of this programmable infrastructure, leveraging the latest coherent optical technology to deliver maximum scale at the lowest cost per bit. When examining the requirements of metro and long-haul infrastructure applications, including global data center interconnect (DCI) networks, there is a growing need for an agile, resilient and intelligent photonic layer.

This Reconfigurable Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM)-based optical foundation leverages flexible, instrumented photonics and Layer 0 software control to scale the network for maximum capacity at the lowest space, power, and cost per bit. more>

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Updates from Ciena

On the Submarine Network Horizon in 2019
By Brian Lavallée – The submarine networking industry is truly fascinating from technology, social, economic, political, and even historical perspectives. All of these facets are intertwined, as new cables are planned and deployed as well as when the unspeakable occurs, and they must be repaired.

The undersea cable network infrastructure is critical infrastructure, and given there’s no Plan B for this part of the global internet, associated technological innovation must continue to evolve at a frenetic pace to ensure the industry can not only maintain pace with voracious growth in demand, but also to ensure the enormous capacity being carried today and ever-increasing amount of tomorrow is protected and continuously optimized to ensure a stable and viable financial future for submarine cable operators.

Several technologies and visions at the forefront of submarine network innovation were hot topics of discussion in 2018 and will undoubtedly be even hotter in 2019. I highlight some notable examples below.

If submarine cable networks are to continue evolving alongside their terrestrial counterparts, these issues will continue to be critical topics of conversation in our industry throughout 2019. more>

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Updates from Datacenter.com

Why can’t a data center guarantee the uptime of your environment?
Datacenter.com – One of the main reasons for choosing a data center, is to limit the risk of downtime and unavailability of the company’s critical environment. A data center offers redundant power feeds, multiple power sources (main grid and emergency generators) and redundant fiber paths to make sure one feed/source and path will always be available. So far, a data center can guarantee a certain uptime. The uptime guaranteed often guarantees the availability of at least one feed/source or path; in terms of data center design: N.

Does that ensure the uptime of your environment? To maximize your environment ‘s uptime, the resources a data center delivers must be used.

When choosing a high-standard datacenter, the equipment you will use in that data center must be able to use the safeguards that a data center offers. The infrastructure of power, fiber paths and cooling are as strong as the weakest link.

For example, when using a server that is only connected to one feed, the guaranteed uptime on one of the two power feeds do not apply anymore for the power on that server. When using a fiber connection from one fiber path, that fiber path is the single point of failure, although the data center has two redundant fiber paths. The same for using an ATS, when using it, the power to the ATS is dual feed, however the power path behind the ATS will be the single-point of failure. To achieve the highest uptime, you must use the safeguards that a data center offers as most as possible. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Is technology the answer to stopping unsafe driving behaviors?
By Daniele Loffreda –  No matter how safe of a driver someone is, it just takes one instance of human error for an accident to happen. We shoot through the intersection just as the yellow light changes to red. We drift into the adjacent lane while responding to a text message. We nod out for a split-second because we didn’t get enough sleep the previous night.

Most times when taking these risks, we are lucky and manage to avoid an accident. But it only takes one unlucky moment to cause serious harm to yourself and your fellow motorists. For local departments of transportation (DOT), the multiplier effect of millions of drivers taking risks, can be devastating.

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel:

  • Each year nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes around the world, an average of 3,287 deaths a day
  • An additional 20-50 million people are injured or disabled annually
  • Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP

According to the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, human error is still the primary factor in 95% of road crashes.

Some innovative DOT’s have begun partnering with car manufacturers and technology vendors to make roadways safer by minimizing the potential for human error.  Many new vehicles are equipped with safety features like lane-departure correction, obstacle detection and collision avoidance.

And some manufacturers are beginning to include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology (V2I) in their newer models.

Ciena is working with one trail-blazing DOT – the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). more>

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Updates from Ciena

Hyped to Death: AI Must Avoid Becoming a Cliché
By Kailem Anderson – Artificial intelligence (AI) is in vogue. It’s almost impossible to read an article in any media outlet that doesn’t mention AI and the possibility it will reshape the world in which we live. In fact, according to research conducted by AT&T, AI has the potential to double GDP growth across geographies by 2035. Consumers are already interacting with a variety of low-level AI assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.

With respect to the telecom sector, AI – supported by machine learning (ML) – is fundamental to controlling and operating communications networks of the future. With AI, future networks will be more predictive and intelligent. They will be programmed to automatically make recommendations, implement policies and respond to changes instantly. However, it is essential to understand the characteristics of AI in telecom. Otherwise, it is likely to become another overused, overhyped, and underwhelming tech term that fails to deliver.

Talk to people in the telecom industry, and each one will give a different answer of what AI means to them. The fact of the matter is, AI does not have a single purpose or meaning. While AI in a basic sense can help describe what is currently happening or going to happen, a more mature level can identify why it is happening and take corrective action.

A clearer purpose of AI in the telecom industry makes it easier for businesses, decision-makers, and customers to determine how useful the technology will actually be, and how it could help them accomplish their goals. This presents an opportunity for those leading the charge to define certain AI standards and definitions. more>

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Updates from Ciena

The evolving coherent optical networking landscape: a deep dive
By Helen Xenos – Over the past decade, network providers have used coherent technology to increase traffic carrying capacity by orders of magnitude over existing assets.

These new initiatives, in turn, are generating new and divergent requirements for coherent optical solutions beyond the need to efficiently scale for bandwidth growth.

In order to retain and grow their customer base, service providers are investing to offer innovative services – like delivering original video content (AT&T acquiring Time Warner) and enabling connectivity of “smart” devices both in the home and in a mobile setting (Bell’s managed security IoT service).

They are also evaluating and upgrading to new, simpler, scalable access architectures, to be able to offer new services unlocked with 5G. One notable example of spending shifting to the edge is Verizon’s announced $1B spend over 3 years for fiber from Corning, as well as their purchase of WOW’s Chicago fiber-based infrastructure.

Challenged with a multi-vendor infrastructure consisting of various technology generations, service providers are working to streamline operations and increase network automation to accelerate service delivery and improve customer satisfaction. At the same time, they are looking to increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs with a more open, programmable infrastructure that can quickly respond to new bandwidth demands with less deployed hardware.

Consistent among all network providers is the need for a more responsive, automated, and self-optimizing network. Technologies such as advanced coherent optics, alongside a flexible photonic layer and open application programmable interfaces (APIs) play a starring role in making this possible. more>

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