Autumn 2021 - Optical Connections Magazine



Efficient optical/fibre network management is a cornerstone for any successful service roll-out, Antony Savvas looks at the challenges and the solutions that the industry must consider.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT The issues around traffic management are changing as the connectivity market changes. Wim te Niet, EMEA vice president of sales at EXFO, says, “For many communications service providers (CSPs), the drive to roll out FTTx (home, business and antenna) means optical and fibre connections are being deployed in series alongside existing technologies such as microwave. “This introduces complexities around traffic management given that CSPs often do not have a full, end-to-end network topology view. This means they lack visibility to the consequences of combining multiple transport technologies in a hybrid environment.” Guillaume Crenn, optical transport product line manager at Ekinops, says of traffic management, “One of the most significant issues surrounding traffic/ network management is the growth in channel capacity, which in the last 5-10 years has gone from 10G to 600G, and we are now looking at 800G and 1Tb. While this has made it easier from an optical standpoint, as fewer wavelengths are needed, it’s a challenge for management as services can be aggregated into a single wavelength - often x100 more - making individual service management complex.” From an operator perspective, says

FAULT MANAGEMENT In the same vein, what about fault management, is it becoming more difficult to tackle? Scott Larrigan, product marketing manager for optical networks at Nokia, says, “When we embed optical network expertise and the latest data science into easy-to-use network applications, we can make fault management much easier. Using these capabilities we can monitor network KPIs and trigger proactive network automation to minimise the impact of network faults. “We can also automatically trigger applications to rapidly isolate the cause of faults. For example, using OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer) tools, we can rapidly find the physical location of a fibre fault,” says Larrigan. On fault management, Ekinops’ Crenn says, “Compared to the 10G capacity lines containing 40 channels, fault management on today’s 600G lines aggregating potentially hundreds of services and multiple standards is a significant challenge. Network operators need to be able to do very granular performance monitoring (PM) in order to provide an end-to-end service level agreement (SLA) on each service individually.” This requires the ability to capture and analyse the PM counters

Crenn, managing multiple services on a high-capacity line can be a significant challenge. “For Tier 2-3 service providers, achieving the balancing act between short-term capex and long- term opex is difficult to assess,” he says. There is a temptation to turn to a less expensive fixed-grid architecture when scoping for a network upgrade, but this limits scalability in both the number and line rate of the channels that can be added. For instance, says Crenn, an 800G channel doesn’t fit over a 100GHz fixed filter network. A more costly flex-grid solution is more future-proof however, and will ultimately result in lower opex over time, but it is “harder to quantify when they are developing the business case”, he adds. Jonathan Homa, senior director of portfolio marketing at Ribbon, adds, “To improve resilience while optimising overall capex, traffic management must coordinate effectively between the IP and optical layers. This is driving a trend to multi-layer optimisation (MLO) where the management tools for each layer are aware of the other connectivity layers. As an example from the perspective of the optical layer, when it needs to perform link restoration (e.g. when using wavelength switched optical network, or WSON) it should give preference to links with higher service priorities.”

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| ISSUE 25 | Q3 2021

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