More service providers making decisions on disaggregated optical network systems

An IHS Markit survey of service providers shows a growing number have made a determination of whether they plan to deploy disaggregated optical systems. More operators say they will deploy such systems than say they won't. However, a significant number still haven't make up their minds – or say they're still unfamiliar with the technology.

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An IHS Markit survey of service providers shows a growing number have made a determination of whether they plan to deploy disaggregated optical systems. More operators say they will deploy such systems than say they won't. However, a significant number still haven't make up their minds – or say they're still unfamiliar with the technology.

According to Heidi Adams, senior research director, IP and optical networks, at IHS Markit, the December 2017 "Optical Network Strategies Service Provider Survey" indicates that 47% of respondents are interested in deploying disaggregated optical systems, up from 33% in 2016 (see chart above). Of these, 44% plan to use such systems by the end of this year, and 69% by the end of 2019.

Conversely, 27% of respondents say they're not interested in using disaggregated hardware, a number that also grew from the 17% who said in 2016 that they wouldn't use this technology. Despite the growth in the supporter and decliner camps, another 27% say they either haven't yet decided (7%) or are still unfamiliar with the technology (a full 20%).

Adams cites data center interconnect applications as a place where disaggregation has already begun, mainly in the form of segregation of transponders from line systems. She notes the overall trend of separation of hardware and software as part of the overall evolution toward software-defined networking (SDN) in metro and long-haul networks as well. Survey respondents participating in these trends cite a desire to reduce reliance on individual vendors and increase their ability to reduce network costs as their reasoning. Integrating and operating equipment and software from different vendors remains a key challenge, they indicate.

Overall, the IHS Markit survey report analyzes trends and assesses the needs of service providers using optical transmission and switching equipment. Subjects covered include deployment plans for WDM transport equipment, time lines, preferred features, costs, and more.

For related articles, visit the Business Topic Center.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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