Tag Archives: Ciena

Updates from Ciena

Photonic integration and co-packaging: Design tools for footprint optimization in data center networks
As traffic within and between data centers continues to grow, operators need to constrain the resulting increase in power consumption to minimize operational costs. This is driving the need to manage footprint and power at the system design level. Photonic integration and co-packaging are related approaches to addressing area and power challenges for networking applications.

By Patricia Bower – Data center networks have evolved rapidly over the last couple of years, in large part due to the scalability and flexibility supported by today’s compact modular DCI solutions.  System designers leveraged advances in key foundational technologies to pack significant capacity and service density into these products, and their popularity is growing as these solutions capture new market segments.

The same advances have also paved the way for new consumption models for coherent optical technology in the form of footprint-optimized, pluggable solutions. As traffic growth for server interconnect within data centers continues to increase, greater for interconnect between data centers (DCI) will be required.

Scaling of data center traffic to get more bandwidth adds to the power consumption overhead and real estate requirements for operators which adds to capital and operational costs.

With each new generation of switching platform and coherent optical transport systems, designers have met the challenges by increasing throughput density and reducing power/bit. Both intra-DC and DCI traffic flows will increasingly rely on advances in foundational technologies and system design options to mitigate power consumption while maximizing interconnect densities.

What are these foundational technologies?  They include:

  • Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)
  • Indium phosphide (InP)
  • Silicon photonics (SiPhot)

In networking applications, CMOS is the basis for both high-capacity switch chips used in router platforms and coherent optical digital-signal-processors (DSP).

InP and SiPhot are used to build electo-optical circuits for signal transport over optical fibers.  Together, the DSP and electro-optical components are the heart of coherent optical transport systems. more>

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Updates from Ciena

How coherent technology decisions that start in the lab impact your network
What is the difference between 400G, 600G and 800G coherent solutions? It seems to be obvious, but is it just about maximum wavelength capacity? Why are different baud, modulations or DSP implementations used, and more importantly, what are the networking implications associated with each?
By Helen Xenos – 32QAM, 64QAM, and hybrid modulation….32, 56, 64, now 95Gbaud? Are they really any different? Fixed grid, flex grid, what’s 75GHz? Is your head spinning yet?

Coherent optical technology is a critical element that drives the amount of capacity and high-speed services that can be carried across networks and is a critical element in controlling their cost. But with multiple generations of coherent solutions available and more coming soon, navigating the different choices can be difficult. Unless you are immersed in the details and relationships between bits and symbols, constellations and baud in your everyday life, it can be confusing to understand how the technology choices made in each solution influence overall system performance and network cost.

To clarify these relationships, here is an analogy that helps provide a more intuitive understanding: consider performance-optimized coherent optical transport as analogous to freight transport.

The goal of network providers using coherent is to transport as much capacity as they can, in the most cost-efficient manner that they can, using wavelengths across their installed fiber. This is similar to wanting to be as efficient as possible in freight transport, carrying as much payload as you can using available truck and road resources. more>

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Updates from Ciena

How coherent optics improve capacity, performance and competitiveness for cable MSOs

Cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) will be using coherent optics in their access networks to help solve a vital business challenge: the need to improve scale and reduce costs while delivering high data rates to end customers.
By Fernando Villarruel – MSOs must build a foundation for their networks that provides the needed capacity, introduces significant operational and cost efficiencies, and positions their businesses for future growth. This growth includes symmetric bandwidth support for the evolution of packet cores to cloud and aggregation of multiple revenue streams including mobile, business services and IoT.

Coherent optics facilitates growth because it enables massive scalability and maximizes network performance while using far fewer components, reducing equipment costs as well as the time and effort it takes to manage the network. These cost and operational benefits allow MSOs to be more competitive as they can place greater attention on delivering a compelling and differentiating customer experience.

Coherent optics employ a technique well known in the cable RF community—QAM, but in optics! This technology uses sophisticated symbol-based modulation scheme with higher baud to efficiently use the optical spectrum available so MSOs can optimize capacity and reach for a given link. With Ciena’s recently announced WaveLogic 5, we will be able to support 800Gb/s in one wavelength, for transport, and up to 200Gb/s in one coherent pluggable wavelength, in access! more>

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Updates from Ciena

Enterprise trends: Cloud, digital transformation, and the move to the Adaptive Network
In today’s digital world, enterprises in every industry vertical must now be hyper-focused on providing a higher quality customer experience, leading to the use of new technologies like AI, IoT, edge computing and others.
By Chip Redden – Before the world went digital, bringing new customers to an enterprise’s marketplace was a pretty straightforward process. Buyers had access to only limited sources of information, allowing the sellers to control the entire journey from discovery to sale to partnership.

Global digitization has changed this dramatically. Buyers have access to almost unlimited information and are entering the sales process well aware of the pluses and minuses of every sales equation, and are very quick to change relationships for a better deal. They are demanding the same type of predictive, personalized, and custom experience they receive from digital innovators like Amazon, Google, and other leaders. And, to add to all this, buyers are asking for service and applications access 24 x 7 from multiple types of devices –including mobile devices.

This means that enterprises in every industry vertical must now be hyper-focused on providing a higher quality customer experience, actively partnering with customers who are willing to advocate in terms of this better experience. It also means that the network that underpins this relationship has to change and adapt.

Enterprises have wholeheartedly embraced the move to cloud architectures and are now actually taking better advantage of the cloud’s abilities. Many enterprises have begun transforming themselves to a more “platform-ized” model by using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to bundle applications and services from multiple and sometimes competing vendors and then deliver these bundles through a single platform/portal to the end customer. more>

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Updates from Ciena

SD-WAN Gets (More) Real for Service Providers

By Kevin Wade – Interest in Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN), which is designed to offer enterprises cohesive end-to-end visibility and control of their multi-site WAN, continues to grow. Although SD-WAN was originally envisioned to give enterprises a ‘DIY’ approach to WAN management, most industry analysts and experts agree that managed SD-WAN services are the predominant consumption model for enterprises today, and into the foreseeable future.

The trend toward managed SD-WAN services is good news for service providers, many of which were initially cautious that SD-WAN might reduce their revenues and/or weaken their relationships with key business customers. To the contrary, SD-WAN services have emerged as a rapidly growing new source of revenues, as well as one that offers service providers new opportunities to improve the customer experience.

I’ve been following the SD-WAN movement closely since nearly the beginning, and have been pleased to see some recent developments that signal the increasing maturity of SD-WAN services.

Without a doubt, SD-WAN services are becoming more established and accepted. And while Blue Planet isn’t inherently an SD-WAN solution, the deployment of SD-WAN services is one of Blue Planet’s biggest drivers and most common use cases. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Trouble-to-Resolve: Assure Layer 3 Service Performance in Minutes
By Don Jacob – Service provider networks have come a long way from the flat networks of yesteryear. Today, they are highly complex with multiple hierarchies and layers, while running a plethora of services and technologies. Providers use the same underlying network to cater to different applications, ranging from financial applications to streaming video, each with its own unique performance and fault-tolerance requirements.

In this complex scenario, how can service providers assure performance of their Layer 3 services, to verify that services are being delivered and ensure customer satisfaction? Take the case of a service provider who’s providing MPLS services to hundreds of customers. Let us look at how the network engineer managing a service provider network handles a routing issue without a routing analytics solution.

Today, when a customer raises a ticket for a reachability or service delivery problem, the provider manually analyzes the issue, making their trouble-to-resolve process long and time consuming.

To start with, if the customer raises the trouble ticket while a connectivity issue is in progress, the first thing the provider needs to know is the routing path taken by the service. This requires the network engineer finding the source router and then running a traceroute from that router to determine all the hops along the path. Once the routers along the path have been identified, they would then log into each router to understand its performance.

This process is repeated on all routers along the path until the problematic router or link is identified. more>

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Updates from Ciena

The future of submarine networks. What’s NEXT?
By Brian Lavallée – Submarine cable networks are considered by most people in the know as critical infrastructure, and rightfully so. They’re the jugular veins of intercontinental connectivity that together enable the global Internet and erase vast transoceanic distances. We depend on submarine cable networks each and every day for both personal and business reasons, often without even knowing it, which is a testament to their carrier-grade robustness.

There’s simply no Plan B for submarine cables, which are the size of a common garden hose and are situated in the abysses of oceans the world over. This means that as an industry, we must continually innovate, adopt, and adapt to ensure these submerged engineering marvels continually evolve to meet the ever-changing demands from end-users, both humans and machines.

Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM) submarine cables, Open Cables, Shannon’s Limit, and the increasing adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are hot topics across the submarine network industry.

Increasingly, technologies borne in data centers and terrestrial networks are finding their way into submarine networks, and that’s a good thing. The network can and should be viewed from end-to-end along the entire service path, overland and undersea, and increasingly, right into data centers. This means uniting technologies and networks across submarine, terrestrial, and data center domains for improved economies of scale due to faster technology innovation cycles.

The Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) spans over 30,500km, which includes over 28,900km of submarine cables submerged on the Pacific Ocean seabed. The network is a major internet on-ramp that provides critical communication connectivity among Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji, and the US West Coast. It connects North American and Australasia by erasing vast transpacific distances. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Latest trends in optical networks- straight from NGON & DCI World
By Helen Xenos – “If you are not sitting at the edge of your seat, you are taking up too much space.”

I heard this quote from a friend recently and thought it was interestingly appropriate in describing the optical networking industry these days. No one has time to sit back. Technology is evolving at an incredibly fast pace, new developments are occurring at a regular cadence, and network providers are regularly evaluating different architecture approaches for evolving their networks.

In attending the 21st Annual NGON & DCI World event in beautiful Nice last week, I had an opportunity to get a pulse on the latest topics and trends that are driving change in the optical networking landscape.

A popular topic at all optical events – and NGON was no exception – is the discussion of the next technology breakthrough that will bring new levels of capacity scale and cost reduction to transport networks.

If we look at coherent optical shipments, capacity and average selling price data over the past decade, what is the principal way that network providers have been able to keep up with exponentially increasing bandwidth demands while maintaining transport costs relatively flat? Through coherent technology innovations that have enabled higher throughput at less cost.

So, how will we get to the next level of cost reduction?

The consistent response to this question in multiple sessions at NGON was higher baud, which means coherent optical solutions that have a higher symbol rate and can process more data per second, resulting in more fiber capacity with less equipment. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Reimagining Ethernet Service Delivery with Intelligent Automation
By Thomas DiMicelli – Communications service providers introduced Ethernet-based services almost 20 years ago as a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to TDM-based services. These services have been continuously enhanced over the years and are widely deployed today; however, traditional Ethernet service activation processes are increasingly out of alignment with market requirements.

I asked Andreas Uys, CTO at Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), an innovative open-access fibre optic company that operates in South Africa, to outline some of the issues concerning Ethernet service activation, and how CSPs can overcome them.

“The limitations of traditional Ethernet service activation processes are quite significant,” Andreas said. “Some of this is due to the way SPs are organized, and some is due to the reliance on manual operations; taken together, these issues dramatically slow the order to service process and delay time to revenue.”

Andreas continued: “Ethernet service activation naturally involves different departments… customer service reps generate work-orders, engineering designs the services, and the operations team provisions and manages the services. Each department has its own ‘siloed’ systems and rely on emails and spreadsheets to track workflow progress. This results in a time-consuming process, even to generate a simple quote.”

“Engineers design the service using stale data from multiple offline inventory systems,” Andreas added, “which results in non-optimal designs that waste network resources. Similarly, the operations team uses multiple tools to manually configure each element or domain in the service path, which adds cost and the potential for errors into the process.”

With fragmented systems and workflows, offline service design tools and error-prone manual provisioning, it is clear that the Ethernet service activation process needs to be updated. So what is the way forward? more>

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Updates from Ciena

GeoMesh Extreme: Release the Kraken!
importance to global communications, and how Ciena’s new GeoMesh Extreme allows submarine cable operators to integrate several technology advancements to enable an open submarine network solution with greater choice and performance.
By Brian Lavallée – Now that I’ve got your attention, what exactly is a kraken?

It’s a legendary sea monster that terrorized ships that sailed the North Atlantic Ocean. It was an unknown danger that dwelled the ocean deep and could attack without warning resulting in untold mayhem.

Whether the kraken legend originates from a giant squid or octopus sighting is debatable, but it terrorized sailors nonetheless, as they never knew if or when the kraken could be encountered. Legends die hard, but there are real dangers that lurk beneath the oceans of the world, and this is precisely where submarine cables live and work.

Hundreds of years ago, when the kraken was terrifying sailors crisscrossing the world’s oceans, ships were the only method of sharing information between continents that were separated by thousands of kilometers of water. This was until the first reliable transoceanic submarine cable was established over 150 years ago, way back in 1866.

This pioneering telegraph cable transmitted at rates that we’d scoff at today, but it was undoubtedly a monumental performance leap when compared to sending handwritten letters back and forth between continents, which could take weeks and even months. Imagine you waited months to receive an important letter, but couldn’t read the sender’s handwriting?! Oh, the horror!

Most modern submarine cables are based on coherent optical transmission technology, which enables colossal capacity improvements over the early telegraph cables of yesteryear, and can reliably carry multiple terabits of data each second.

We’ve come a long way in improving on how much data we can cram into these optical fibers that are the size of a human hair, housed in cables the size of a common garden hose, and laid upon the world’s seabeds for thousands of kilometers. We’ve also come a long way in being utterly and completely dependent upon this critical infrastructure, now carrying $10 trillion – yes, TRILLION – worth of transactions every day, over 95% of all inter-continental traffic, and are experiencing over 40% CAGR growth worldwide.

This network infrastructure will become more critical, if that’s even possible! more>

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