DriveNets and Ciena wrap joint testing of ZR/ZR+ network cloud solution

March 26, 2024
The integrated solution will be on display during this week’s OFC conference.

DriveNets has completed the testing and certification of multiple Ciena 400G coherent pluggable transceivers integrated into the DriveNets Network Cloud platform.

These tests demonstrate how the integrated DriveNets/Ciena solution can optimize service provider networks and build more efficient converged infrastructures. 

The solution also includes enhanced network configuration and management software capabilities and ensures that the Ciena WaveLogic 5 Nano (WL5n) pluggables can be tuned, configured, and managed by DriveNets Network Cloud software. 

DriveNets hardware and software with Ciena pluggables will be displayed at this week’s OFC conference as part of the University of Texas in Dallas (UTC) - OpenLab OFCnet demonstration. 

In 2023 DriveNets announced that Network Cloud was a Disaggregated Distributed Chassis/Backbone Router (DDC/DDBR) to support ZR/ZR+ optics as native transceivers for Network Cloud-supported white boxes. The collaboration between DriveNets and Ciena shows how to offer thoroughly tested and validated solutions that advance and expand the adoption of open, disaggregated networking solutions.

A simplified approach

One of the critical elements of the partnership is a simplified approach.

The two companies claim the integrated solution delivers cost savings by collapsing Layer-1 to Layer-3 communications into a single platform. Using ZR/ZR+ also eliminates the need for standalone optical transponders, lowering the number of boxes in the solution and reducing operational overhead, floor space, and power requirements.

This collaboration ensures that the DriveNets NOS (DNOS) supports the WL5n coherent pluggable transceivers beyond simply plugging them into the box. It will support multiple modes of operation, including 400ZR and ZR+, as well as higher performance modes to extend 400G connectivity across more links in the network. The combined solution was tested across a Ciena open-line system, representing a real networking environment.

However, the two companies emphasized that the integration goes beyond interoperability validation. DriveNets Network Cloud will offer software support for Ciena's optical solution, including configuration (channel and power), monitoring, and troubleshooting for Ciena transceivers.

Future enhancements involve standards-based integration with Ciena’s end-to-end intelligent network control system – the Ciena Navigator Network Control Suite (NCS) – for better visibility and optimization of the optical infrastructure.

Focus on disaggregation

The joint solution also reflects the growth of disaggregated networking solutions. 

This allows providers to lower operational costs by simplifying the network architecture.

“Operators are looking for open solutions that allow them to mix and match elements from multiple vendors as well as reduce the number of networks they need to support,” said Dudy Cohen, VP of product marketing at DriveNets. “The converged IP/Optical solution enabled by this announcement delivers on both goals.”

Joe Shapiro, VP of product line management for Ciena, agreed. “The combined solution – a converged IP/Optical white box – can achieve longer unregenerated reaches while also being simple to manage, resulting in improved cost and operational efficiencies,” he said.

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