Lumentum Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LITE) has kicked off the era of optical "white box" generic platforms for software-defined network (SDN) applications. The optical component and subsystem company, which has long offered pre-packaged line cards under the Super Transport Blade and TrueFlex names (see, for example, "JDSU integrates WSS, EDFA, OCM in a single blade"), has used that expertise to develop software-configurable rack-mountable terminal amplifier, line amplifier, mux/demux, and ROADM for data center interconnect and metro edge fiber-optic network applications.
The platforms, each no bigger than 1RU, are designed to be mixed and matched to meet the needs of individual applications, particularly point-to-point data center interconnect or, with the ROADM mesh-based network architectures. Open interfaces enable management under SDN control. The ROADM will be part of a proof-of-concept demonstration at OFC 2016 this week in Anaheim, led by ON.Lab, the developers of the ONOS open SDN operating system. The packet-optical convergence demonstration will take place at Booth 3758.
The white boxes announced so far include:
- The terminal amplifier white box and its associated mux/demux (described next form the endpoints of an optical transport link. The 1RU platform houses two high-power variable-gain EDFAs, OSC termination, optical channel monitor, and automatic line protection functions.
- The passive mux/demux provides the entry or exit point for data traffic. The unit requires no external power or management connections. The terminal amplifier offers visibility to the mux/demux inventory data.
- The line amplifier extends system reach beyond the single span limit of the terminal amplifier. The 1RU platform supports amplification in two directions.
- The ROADM white box is used in mesh networks, particularly metro edge applications, that require wavelength agility. The 1RU system can leverage a TrueFlex twin 1xN (9-20+) or single 1xN (2-9) wavelength selective switch, two high-power variable-gain EDFAs, OSC termination, and optical channel monitor.