Summer 2018 Optical Connections Magazine


OC: How do you see the market changing in the next five years or so?

CSPs and build their infrastructure so that everyone can run applications over it, but we will also be creating solutions that certain entities will slice and dice and so we will offer a pay as you need model. In that construct, it’s the software and the services parts of our offer that becomes more important. We’re changing, we’re evolving. I think network slicing is going to change the way people approach networking and in particular optical networking. OC: How would you characterise Nokia’s philosophy in terms of the company’s approach to the fibre-optic market? What does it see as its mission? SB: In terms of fibre optics, what we are really trying to be is the market leader, providing the most reliable and scalable and simple to use end-to-end optical networking solutions for all segments globally. The other thing is we happen to be part of a platform that involves two very important entities. One is a tremendous research capability which we depend on to continue to make us leaders in innovation and last but not least, we are part of Nokia which is one of the few companies that can provide an end-to-end solution, from mobility to fixed, IP and optical. We know enough about end-to-end solutions to know that we can develop optical networks that are truly end-to-end. There are others that are pure-play that have to discover that but we have the benefit of being able to engineer our solutions so that they fit nicely into our customers’ networks. Finally, if there was one thing we would be known for is how we take care of our customers. We want to be known as number one in our customers minds in terms of giving them the best optical solutions that are part of a greater Nokia solution.

that’s only half the equation; the other half is to reduce the complexity of these networks and increase the automation because otherwise, the operational expenses go through the roof. The best way to achieve this is to automate the optical network as much as possible. It has to be flexible and simple enough to automate and be scalable. SB: Anywhere that you can have flexibility in the optical network, you are helping to automate things. Coherent technology has evolved over time and when we first introduced it in 2010, that technology was 100 Gbps and it had one modulation scheme called Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK). Since then, we have evolved it, we’ve added 200 Gbps, we’ve added support for different modulation schemes and it’s at a point now where you can dial the capacity up in increments of 100 Gbps, up to the current limit of 500 Gbps. However, the modulation schemes such as QAM, four- eight – and 16-state QAM, have become complex. So as an industry, instead of simplifying things, as we’ve added scalable capacity we’ve made things more complicated. What the PSE-3 brings is firstly, scalable capacity; we can go to 1.2 Tbps with this. The second thing is that we’re bending back the complexity curve. We now have a solution where we pick one modulation scheme and then through something we call Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) we are able to shape the constellation that contains the data to best fit the application that’s required in a link. We are able to do so right up against the Shannon Limit, so we maximise capacity and performance with PCS. It’s not just that we’re doubling the capacity, we’re making it truly automated and very simple to operate. No more guesswork about which modulation scheme to use. We’re very excited about it and so are our customers. Indeed, Shannon himself pointed the way to doing this but it has taken years to figure it out and get it on a chip, but we did it. We took networks that we had already deployed and we looked at what the effect of implementing PSE-3 would be. Over the commonly deployed networks, we saw around 65% increase in capacity. Just as importantly, we saw a 25% - 35% increase in optical performance, which means you can go a longer distance and eliminate regens. As a result, we need to use fewer interfaces which means the total power consumption is reduced by around 60% and the TCO goes down dramatically. We’re going to introduce this in 2018 and we’ll spread it across our whole portfolio in 2019 because we think the larger operators will be very interested in PSE-3. OC: What is PSE-3 and why is this a good time to be launching it?

SB: In general, we see the market growing. There could be a few ups and downs of course, but growth projections on a year-on-year basis indicate that it will grow, driven by all the elements we’ve discussed previously. Optical networks are interesting in that if you think about some of the latency requirements for the new applications such as 5G and IoT, latency is dictated by the speed of light in fibre which means if you pick the shortest path possible and drive as much bandwidth as you can into that path, that’s the best answer to driving latency down. Optical networks are becoming more important as time goes on, I don’t see the demand for capacity diminishing and I believe that solutions such as PSE-3 will be in demand. I see that the customer base is changing which means we have entered into different applications like the hyperscale and webscale companies who build different networks than for example CSPs and ICPs. It means that our network solutions will be proliferating and will be different. Sometimes we’ll satisfy that demand with a traditional system and sometimes an open system. It’s not just about the hardware however, what’s also changing in the next five years is that more and more we are offering automation and virtual infrastructure and software-based constructs that allow our customers to take the network and treat it as something that can be sliced and diced and be consumable in chunks, as opposed to a sum cost that can’t be elevated and value extracted from it. Software is changing as well, which means business models are fundamentally changing. We’ll still ship a whole bunch of equipment to our critical


ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018

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