Autumn 2020 - Optical Connections Magazine



Disaggregated optical networks are slated to deliver a number of substantial benefits. For operators, such networks promise: increased multi-vendor choice through the availability of standardised ‘white label’ network pieces; improved access to best-in class technology; better market responsiveness; and potentially lower CapEx and OpEx. In the meantime, a possible pay-off for optical solution suppliers is the greater ability to focus on building specific network components without the requirement to develop complete integrated platforms; this too could lead to accelerated innovation and lower costs, writes JohnWilliamson .

A s noted by Helen Xenos, Senior Director, Portfolio Marketing at networking equipment, software, and services company Ciena, forms of disaggregated optical networks have been deployed for a number of years. Transponders- based, compact interconnect platforms and photonic line systems in particular have been candidates for the open, de-coupled treatment, and DataCentre Interconnect (DCI) and web scale operators notable early adopters. Today network disaggregation is being

telecommunications and networking group Nokia, many of his network operator customers have now moved from the disaggregation investigation/RFI stage to the planning and execution stage of testing and deploying. “The early adopters are paving the way for broader market adoption by actively partnering with SDOs, vendors and other operators to define practical, phased approaches, drive standards, unify suppliers, and conduct Proofs of Concept (PoC) and trials,” he remarks. “This is particularly well aligned with the partially disaggregated scenario analysed by the Open and Disaggregated Transport Network (ODTN).” (see panel story, Open plan) PUSH AND PULL There’s a market push and a technology pull in the impetus towards open optical disaggregated networks. “As service providers advance on the digital transformation spectrum, the ubiquity of cloud concepts will require open and disaggregated hardware with upper layer systems that are model driven and easily accommodate new or different elements and functions,” comments Rob Hughes, Optical Solutions Lead, at network products and services company Fujitsu

Network Communications. Hughes also observes that right-sizing a network is becoming increasingly important while traffic requirements on networks are continuing to grow, but revenue to pay to meet these mounting demands is not growing at the same rate. Historically, expansion has been enabled through continuous technology innovation that drove down the cost per bit, but the speed at which the cost per bit is declining has begun to slow down. “As cost pressures continue to mount, service providers will increasingly demand and deploy more fully-disaggregated solutions from vendors.” On the pull side, technology innovation has extended the repertoire of, and progressively lessened the need for coordination between, a single vendor’s line systems and transponder products. Shore states that line systems became more independent with the introduction of Flex-grid ROADMs. “They didn’t need the same kind of tight coordination with transponders in order to manage wavelengths effectively,” he reports. “At the same time transponders started to evolve with the introduction of advance coherent digital signal processors which were able to independently adapt to virtually

embraced by a much larger service provider customer constituency.

“Disaggregation in the optical network has been embraced and successfully deployed by the web scale operators for several year,” says Rob Shore, Senior Marketing VP at optical and IP networking company Infinera. “What we’re seeing now is traditional network operators beginning – and moving fast – to embrace the concept as well because of the network savings and accelerated innovations speeds that disaggregation provides”. According to Dave Brown, Senior Manager, Optical Product Marketing, at


| ISSUE 22 | Q4 2020

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