Tag Archives: Fiber optics

Updates from Ciena

How to Right-Size Your Middle-Mile Network for Rural Broadband Growth
By Mitch Simcoe – Have you ever purchased something where you didn’t plan and anticipate your future needs correctly and you ended up needing to replace it with something larger, something that can scale with greater capacity to meet your needs? Something that leaves you with a nagging feeling, that if you had just planned better from the start it would have saved you a lot of time, money and aggravation?

For example, my son recently graduated from college and the first car he went and bought was a 2-seater red convertible with a trunk that can barely hold a suitcase. Now he wants to go mountain biking and kayaking on the weekend and realized he will need to upgrade to a truck and will reluctantly have to sell the sports car.

Well, it is not hard to fall into the same trap when it comes to planning for a Middle-Mile Network for Rural Broadband. Middle-mile networks are typically fiber rings that aggregate the traffic from service provider central offices or utility substations that connect residential customers in rural areas as shown in Figure 1. Whether it’s utility co-ops, regional service providers or municipalities, all need to plan for future broadband demand on these middle-mile networks. As we have seen during the pandemic, people living in rural areas have welcomed the opportunity to work from home; they shop, consume entertainment, and access advanced education services and critical healthcare data online. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends: elevating high-speed reliable broadband from a “nice to have” service to an essential one, just like water or electricity. more>

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Updates from CIena

Distribute, virtualise, and optimise your datacentre infrastructure with Interxion’s ‘Managed Wave’ services
More enterprises than ever are distributing their datacentre infrastructure across multiple locations to boost their agility and to get closer to their cloud and content partners. If this is your case, you could benefit from DCI connectivity that’s super-fast, totally reliable, and highly cost effective, such as Interxion’s Ciena-powered Managed Wave solution, says Martin Phelps,
By Martin Phelps – In recent years, we have seen massive changes in enterprise’s collocation and connectivity needs. Until very recently, for example, most organisations only hosted equipment in two remote datacentres for backup or disaster recovery (DR) purposes. Additionally, compute, storage, and network equipment was nearly always hosted in the same facility to avoid latency and other issues that can impact performance.

Now, though, all this has changed.

The new normal is to distribute datacentre infrastructure across two or more geographically distributed locations, and not only for the purpose of DR. This approach to building out infrastructure is being driven by a number of key factors, including:

  1. Availability of datacentre space (or lack of it)
    Lack of space in tier-4 datacentres could be a challenge for Enterprises.  A distributed architecture allows them to overcome this challenge by hosting infrastructure in two or more tier-3 datacentres in active-active mode.
  2. Proximity to cloud providers and other partners
    With distributed architectures, enterprise customers can decide to host additional, virtualised infrastructure that is collocated with cloud ‘on-ramps’. This can minimise their latency and maximise app and workload performance.

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Updates from Ciena

‘Branching Out’ our learning
By Jane Hobbs & Jason Phipps – As part of the initiative to create a culture of happiness, vibrancy, and belonging, I was very excited to launch the People Promise in June 2020, a commitment that we can all make a difference, be empowered, and feel included.

Making it easier for individuals to learn and develop has always been important to us, not just about professional career growth and skill training but also on personal growth and wellbeing.

To support this, we launched this new learning experience, calling it Branch Out, as we saw the topics as a way for people to branch out their learning. Launching this platform was a powerful tool as it came at a time where it could help us cope in different ways with how the pandemic impacted our wellbeing and also still put an emphasis on having learning available 24/7 – important in Global company.

As part of the initiative to create a culture of happiness, vibrancy, and belonging, I was very excited to launch the People Promise in June 2020, a commitment that we can all make a difference, be empowered, and feel included.

Making it easier for individuals to learn and develop has always been important to us, not just about professional career growth and skill training but also on personal growth and wellbeing. more>

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Updates from Ciena

How bold hardware and software innovations are changing the game in optical networking
How are hardware and software advancements helping network operators solve key challenges they face today?
By Paulina Gomez – Communications have come a long way since Western Union took the bold step of implementing the first transcontinental electric telegraph system in October of 1861. Fast forward 160 years and optical networks across the globe are what lay the foundation for modern communications and the way we live, work and play.

Keeping pace with today’s “new normal” customer demands for always-on, anywhere, reliable connectivity requires innovative technologies to deliver open, scalable, and programmable networks, that include next-gen coherent modems to drive down the cost of transport and reconfigurable open line systems, to be able to quickly adapt to changing customer requirements.  However, evolving towards a smarter optical network also requires leveraging advanced analytics with intelligent software automation to not only drive operational simplicity but also actionable insights based on what is happening in the network.

As our customers evolve to more open, programmable, and automated networks they need the right analytical tools at their fingertips to be able to extract the full value of their deployed network assets across all stages of the photonic network lifecycle. Paving the path towards a smarter optical network starts with an SDN domain controller like Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP), that lays the foundation for multi-layer, automated, lifecycle operations. Advancements in hardware and software are also required to give more control to end-users so that they can fully operationalize and realize the benefits associated with a modernized network. Let me explain further: more>

Updates from Ciena

3 unique network provider perspectives on IP/Optical convergence
What are network providers thinking about IP/Optical Convergence? Representatives from Microsoft, Telia Carrier and Cox Communications recently participated in a panel “Evolution to Coherent WDM Integration in Routers” moderated by Ciena’s Helen Xenos to discuss this very topic. Helen shares some of the interesting insights she learned during the session.
By Helen Xenos – According to a recent Heavy Reading global service provider survey, 87 percent of providers view IP/Optical convergence as important for their next-generation networks.* This is consistent with what we are hearing from customers.  There is a lot of excitement in the industry to build networks differently and offer a richer quality of experience to end users by leveraging a combination of new technology innovations – coherent pluggable optics, modern IP protocols, programmable open interfaces, and centralized multi-layer, multi-vendor software control.

What are the advantages and opportunities tied to IP/Optical convergence?  What are the networking considerations and challenges yet to overcome? I was fortunate to moderate a panel at the recent OFC Conference on this topic, where important –and entertaining—insights were shared through three unique perspectives: cloud provider (Microsoft), service provider (Telia Carrier), and multi-service operator (Cox Communications).  Here are some of the key insights I took away from the sessions. more>

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Updates from Ciena

3 network capabilities that agencies need to keep up with cyberthreats
As malicious cyberattacks continue to grow, agencies need to ensure they’re deploying the best possible lines of defense to keep data and systems safe. Jim Westdorp, Ciena’s Government Chief Technologist, details the three network capabilities agencies need to keep up with cyberthreats.
By Jim Westdorp – Cybersecurity has always been a priority for government leaders, but today’s remote work environment is changing the security landscape. Now, government agencies are facing the challenge of securing and managing assets in the cloud while protecting exponential growth in network traffic across disparate locations.

Network termination points and traffic used to originate from office buildings and data centers but with COVID-19 forcing people to work from home, traffic has moved from commercial offices to residential networks served by the public internet, providing a larger attack surface for adversaries.

At the same time, low levels of automation, along with many manual processes in the network operations center, demand greater efforts to detect and mitigate security breaches. Unfortunately, traditional security techniques, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, no longer offer enough protection against today’s sophisticated threats, especially across a distributed work environment.

As malicious actors and cyberattacks continue to grow, agencies need to ensure they’re deploying the best possible lines of defense to keep data and systems safe. That security starts with the network — but not just any network. Here are the three key network capabilities needed to help agencies keep up with cyberthreats. more>

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Updates from Ciena

What is ZR+?
You may be familiar with 400ZR, but thanks to continued innovation in coherent optical technology, network operators can also look forward to a new generation of longer-reach, multi-rate pluggable coherent solutions – “ZR+”. The generic term ZR+ means different things to different people, so learn about the wide range of different solutions it encompasses, the industry standards and MSAs driving their development, and additional coherent pluggable capabilities addressing even higher performance.

By Patricia Bower – Global optical networks continue to evolve, necessitating new and innovative solutions to meet the requirements of network operators to maximize fiber utilization and reduce the cost of data transport. Coherent optical transmission has been the key technology supporting both requirements over the last decade— and this will continue for the next stages of network evolution.

In early 2020, 800G-capable performance-optimized transport systems were introduced and have since been deployed around the world allowing customers to benefit from new network efficiencies and cost savings from this latest generation of coherent technology. What’s next?

In 2021, coherent pluggables supporting data rates from 100G to 400G and optimized for low power and small space requirements for high-density modular systems will start to be deployed in networks. This latest generation of products extend the economic benefits of coherent innovation into new application areas.

400ZR is an example of one of the first 400G solutions in this new class of pluggable coherent products to hit the market and will initially be used by hyperscale data center operators for single-span connectivity between data centers.  Implemented predominantly in QSFP-DD form factors, 400ZR will serve the specific requirement for large-scale switch fabric extension by plugging directly into router faceplates for massive parallel data center interconnect of 400GbE for distances of 80 – 120km. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Updated: 800G – nothing but the facts
If you have been following Ciena, you know 800G adoption is underway. With that comes a lot of interest and questions. Ciena’s Helen Xenos sat down to share insights from 800G customer deployments to help you understand the facts.
By Helen Xenos – 800G is a hot topic of discussion in the optical industry today – it’s everywhere! And as is customary when a new technology emerges, there are various opinions and speculation as to the value and expected rate of adoption, especially these days when lab access and live trials pose a unique challenge. Who has real product? Is anyone going to deploy 800G in the near term? Are there technological and operational barriers that still need to be overcome?

As the only vendor with commercially available 800G product shipping today (since April 2020), we are in the unique and fortunate position here at Ciena where we don’t need to speculate.

Curious to know the facts around 800G deployments?

In just over nine months of commercial availability of WaveLogic 5 Extreme, Ciena has shipped more than 6,000 coherent modems to over 75 customers around the globe, all of whom are actively deploying the technology in their networks.  The rate of early technology adoption is impressive – more than twice as fast as the ramp of competitive 600G solutions, as can be seen from the Cignal AI graph below (source: Transport Applications Report).

In this blog, I’ll share details of these deployments, and insights behind the strong ramp, so you can cut through the hype and get to the facts about 800G. more>

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Updates from Ciena

How quickly can you activate new MPLS services?
MPLS tunnels are the go-to technology to deliver network services. But provisioning and activation can take days or even weeks. Blue Planet’s Mitch Auster details how intelligent automation can solve the many complexities of MPLS service activation.
By Mitch Auster – When it comes to delivering high quality services between geographically distributed locations, providers across the world have a go-to technology they rely on – MPLS tunnels. Each service request from a customer comes with unique requirements – a bank may require gold priority paths with redundancy, a television network may demand temporary network connectivity to stream an event, a federal agency might want to send traffic excluding certain countries, or a customer could ask for a high-bandwidth, low-latency path for data traversing between headquarters and their data center.

MPLS service activation in weeks

The current approach for provisioning and activating an MPLS service with such unique customer requirements can take days or even weeks. Under the present mode of operation, a provider must have access to the current network topology of an ever-changing network, evaluate the performance metrics of each device, link and path between multiple source and destinations pairs, use manual, legacy offline planning tools to compute the new path, and manually configure all the routers along the new path.

Add multi-vendor devices or multiple autonomous systems to this mix, and the overall cost in terms of both OPEX and efforts can be quite high. But with the competition waiting with improved offers, customers may not be willing to wait for weeks, or longer, while the provider searches for the most efficient path that meets customer constraints. more>

Updates from Ciena

Network Edge: Enterprises are ready for a more comprehensive approach – but can telcos deliver?
Over the last few years, enterprises have begun embracing more automation and virtualization in the wide area network (WAN), says Ciena’s Artur Kwiatkowski. As their IT architectures migrate towards (multi) cloud centricity, their network environment – and especially the network edge – must evolve to be more flexible and increasingly self-configurable by the end user. To accelerate this evolution, enterprises across many industries are deploying virtual network functions such as virtual routers, firewalls, and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). For many of them, that last application has been the starting point towards a virtualized network environment.
Was SD-WAN overhyped?
By Artur Kwiatkowski – Originally, part of its promise was about commercials: it offered a more attractive cost structure for the enterprise WAN. This was to result from increased reliance on cheap underlying network transport technologies (e.g. dedicated internet access services rather than MPLS). What has proved more transformational, however – especially in European markets where price deltas for underlay services were not that great in the first place – is the increased control that enterprises gain with SD-WAN bundles over the performance of their networks, and the ability to decouple the overlay (management and policy) function from the underlay (transport) function.

Very quickly, SD-WAN became a hyped (possibly even over-hyped) concept, and vast majority of communications service providers (CSPs) active in the B2B space scrambled to pull together an SD-WAN market offering. In many cases, these boiled down to a managed service delivered by the SD-WAN providers / equipment vendors themselves, and then white-labelled by the telco as they were resold to the enterprise end user.

It also soon transpired that SD-WAN was not a one-size-fits-all application. As a result, majority of larger CSPs today have multiple SD-WAN solutions in their product catalogue, aimed at various market segments, from small businesses to global enterprises. This is not a problem in itself, but many of them end up siloed and isolated in the context of the wider service portfolio. They also often rely on manual processes for operational aspects such as service turn-up. The resulting image of CSPs is that of a bevy of swans swimming upstream – looking distinguished and graceful above the waterline, all the while peddling frantically underneath where no one can see, just to keep moving forward.

Change seems to be on the horizon, however. more>

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