Windstream picks Ciena to build National Converged Optical Network

Aug. 10, 2020
Ultra-high-speed network will further enable capacity between Windstream’s Tier 1, 2, and 3 markets to major U.S. data centers, cable landing stations, and cross-border gateways.

Windstream and Ciena today announced that Windstream will build its National Converged Optical Network (NCON) with Ciena’s photonic, coherent optical, and intelligent software platforms. The new network will allow Windstream to meet customers’ surging bandwidth demands driven by remote work and learning applications, cloud computing and video streaming.

Windstream’s NCON will connect cities across its nationwide network, providing critical connectivity essential to the digital economy. The ultra-high-speed network will further enable capacity between Windstream’s Tier 1, 2, and 3 markets to major U.S. data centers, cable landing stations, and cross-border gateways.

Leveraging Ciena’s technology, Windstream adds that its NCON will efficiently scale and dynamically adjust for optimal capacity on any path and avoid potential faults by automatically re-routing traffic based on available network resources.

The NCON architecture will enable Windstream to support rapidly evolving future technologies and growing bandwidth demands while maintaining the ability to support legacy networks and components. The key drivers for Windstream, the company says, include open connectivity, modularity, and software control. "NCON ensures a future-proof network for the next generation and beyond while setting new economical and reliability baselines," adds a company statement.

The strategic partnership with Ciena highlights Windstream’s commitment to delivering a fully automated nationwide network that can adapt to changes on-demand and provide superior services and connectivity experiences to its customers. Windstream will deploy Ciena’s Waveserver 5 compact modular platform, powered by its WaveLogic 5 Extreme platform, billed as "the industry’s first 800G solution that allows for efficient, high-speed 100GbE and 400GbE client connectivity across any distance over programmable 400-800Gb/s wavelengths."

Additionally, Windstream will be leveraging Ciena’s 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS), a uniquely reconfigurable, fully programmable and integrated C&L-band line system to access double the optical spectrum capacity. With RLS, Windstream will achieve the highest levels of network performance, with greater embedded intelligence for simpler planning and faster deployment.

Another key capability of Windstream’s NCON will be enabled by Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, which will utilize automation features and operational diagnostics to proactively identify and prevent potential connectivity issues. NCON will also take advantage of Ciena’s Liquid Spectrum predictive analytics, which will act as the brains of the network to provide real-time visibility into network efficiency.

Multiple-vendor interoperation enabled by software intelligence embedded in the Ciena platforms will allow Windstream to efficiently deploy and operate these new technologies. Windstream will start deploying and turning up traffic on the new network in the third quarter of 2020.

Buddy Bayer, Chief Network Officer, Windstream, commented, “Our increasingly digital world requires a differentiated network that pushes the boundaries of technology to take the connectivity experience to the next level. After extensive review in our quest to innovate and meet growing customer demands, it was clear that Ciena was the best partner to support our nationwide network transformation and ability to adapt to digital disruption. With NCON, Windstream will build an ultra-high capacity, intelligent network that will interoperate with our existing multi-vendor topology.”

“Windstream’s decision to partner with us again and build a world-class network that will span its entire U.S. footprint using our high-performance coherent optics and leading automation software not only demonstrates their industry leadership, but will help them deliver differentiated and innovative services while adapting to the disruptions and demands created by the digital economy,” added Jason Phipps, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Ciena.

Learn more at www.windstream.com and www.ciena.com.

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