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Optical networks embrace virtualisation

Posted: 20 Jul 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:OTN  Optical Network  virtualisation 

Virtualisation has revolutionized computing efficiency in data centres and is now being extended to optical transport networks, finds Infonetics Research.

In its new white paper, 'Integrated OTN Switching Virtualizes Optical Networks', the research firm also finds that virtualisation, the process of abstracting a pool of common resources for use by multiple services, has revolutionized computing efficiency in data centres and is now being extended to optical transport networks.

"The 'optical reboot' that we've been predicting is here," says Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst, optical, Infonetics Research and author of the white paper. "All the low-hanging fruit has been picked from existing 10Gbit/s networks, and carriers view the transition to 100Gbit/s as a once-in-a-decade chance to reboot their core and regional network architectures. They're seizing the opportunity and introducing meshed networks that employ integrated OTN switching."

Integrated OTN switching converges optical transport and OTN switching functionality into a single network element, increasing efficiency and enabling virtualized optical networking; this provides efficiencies over typical OTN muxponders, which must be manually provisioned and are subject to inefficient wavelength utilisation and scalability issues.

"Systems that combine WDM optics and OTN switching are changing long-held assumptions in favour of integration. Our discussions with service providers indicate most plan to deploy OTN switching, with the goal of providing an optimal foundation for virtualized transport networks with the lowest forward TCO," Schmitt adds.

The benefits of integrated OTN switching include efficient capacity utilisation, quick service turn-up, policy-based provisioning, and rapid failure restoration. Most carriers want OTN switching, finds Infonetics Research.

Infonetics' April 2012 OTN Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey found that 76 per cent of survey respondents plan to deploy or have already deployed OTN switching, and these respondents represent 90 per cent of respondent capex, indicating that larger carriers are embracing OTN switching.

Based on Infonetics' conversations with service providers, architectural approaches that advocate pure MPLS or "OTN+MPLS" switching have had little traction to date.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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