Summer 2018 Optical Connections Magazine



When it comes to getting the most out of optical networks the future is now being etched by software. Antony Savvas hears how the industry is positioning itself to prepare for the changes that customers need.

needed is a cloud-based network solution that connects people, places and things over wired and wireless broadband.” Da Costa says distributed enterprises are becoming connected enterprises and they have a need to connect multiple end points, people, places and things. Trac is moving from private networks to the public internet, and traditional hardware-based WANs simply can’t scale, he says. “The traditional WAN set-up is dead, software-defined networking (SDN) enables IT managers to maintain visibility, security and control over the next- generation WAN.” PLANNING But what of the planning that will be necessary to cope with this brave new software-based world? Paul Brooks, strategic director, lab and production, at test and measurement firm VIAVI Solutions, says: “Fibre is reaching closer to the user, and speeds of up to 100G are expanding beyond the core to the access network. Likewise, we are seeing 400G deployments gathering speed, as service providers and data centres endeavour to manage that surge in trac by maximising capacity per fibre at the core of the network.” The move to 400G, says Brooks, will bring new “challenges” in terms of network planning, design and activation to improve network optimisation and

W hilst network speeds have exploded through 100G, 200G and 400G to cope with trac demands, consumers expect to pay the same, or even less, for more and more bandwidth. Flexible network management systems are now being used to cope with this scenario, as operators are no longer in a position to simply throw more capacity at the challenge to cope - they now want to sweat their assets. Duncan Ellis, director of EMEA at Silicon Valley-headquartered optical solutions firm Wave2Wave, says: “Today’s bandwidth consumers, be they individuals or organisations, are demanding more and more immediacy. We live in a world of on-demand apps and services, streaming video and anything-as-a-service, with new technologies like IoT increasingly

driving bandwidth demands and requiring lower latency and lower jitter.”

SDN Ellis says network operators are

increasingly focusing on automation – typically via Software Defined Networking (SDN) or Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) – to “increase service velocity whilst removing cost and error from the network”. “Looking at SDN/NFV, the virtualisation of many network functions to software entities running on commercial-o-the- shelf (COTS) server farms helps reduce CapEx through the decoupling of network services from proprietary and dedicated hardware,” says Ellis. Hubert Da Costa, VP EMEA at cloud network solutions firm Cradlepoint, concurs: “The drive for digital transformation means enterprises are embracing cloud in all its forms and with it the Internet of Things (IoT). What’s


| ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018

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