Lightchip launches optical wavelength manager

Sept. 4, 2001
Sept. 4, 2001--Lightchip, Inc. announced its Optical Wavelength Manager, claiming it to be the first shelf-level, intelligent subsystem for monitoring and managing wavelengths in DWDM networks.

Lightchip, Inc. announced its Optical Wavelength Manager (OWM), claiming it to be the first shelf-level, intelligent subsystem for monitoring and managing wavelengths in DWDM networks. The OWM, distributed at critical nodes in the network, provides the real-time information necessary to assess the quality of the transport layer at the photonic level.

The OWM is a network-ready intelligent subsystem designed for use with a switch, cross-connect or add-drop. The NEBS Level 3 and CE qualified OWM combines Lightchip's own Optical Performance Monitor with a complete electronics and software application-level solution. The OWM delivers all of the information needed to determine an optical channel's integrity, including power, optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) and wavelength drift. The OWM is networkable and web-enabled, so that all data can be read remotely at a network operations center (NOC) or in the field. The OWM comes with the industry's first "photonic MIB" and is readily integrated into network operating systems such as SNMP and TL1.

According to Chris Nicoll, Vice President, Telecom Infrastructure at Current Analysis Lightchip's OWM allows metro-service providers to track a potential problem at the optical layer in advance of the user's recognition, allowing for in-line, proactive management of the network.

Metropolitan area service providers are turning to DWDM as a means of delivering bandwidth. Unlike long haul, with its fixed, point-to-point links along right-of-ways, Metro DWDM entails bringing wavelengths under city streets, to street corners, and telephone poles. With this complex metro topology, DWDM wavelengths are a critical enabler for delivering bandwidth where and when it is needed.

The central role of DWDM in the metro, coupled with the complexity of the metro deployment, means that measuring and managing wavelengths is as critical as the digital transport layer in delivering service at QoS and SLA customer levels. What transmission standards such as SONET and GigE deliver for reliability at the data level, optical wavelength management delivers at the photonic level. Together, optical and data management services enable the metro service provider to deliver bandwidth in accordance with service and reliability guarantees.

The Lightchip OWM provides a network application level solution for wavelength monitoring and management. The user works with either a graphical interface, a command line interface or via integration links created through a network operating system. These interfaces can all be invoked remotely via Ethernet, FTP, RS232 or dial-up. This enables the user to look at any point in the network where an OWM is located. Data can be captured at multiple remote locations, and relayed back to a NOC, or to a portable laptop in the field. Users can look at one node's operation, or use distributed measurements from several OWMs to look at total path or link behavior.

From the interface, users can examine multiple measurements for all of the wavelengths, including power, OSNR and wavelength position. The user can also set alarms, error conditions and warnings with different levels, either on a per channel basis or across multiple channels. Should an alarm condition be triggered, the OWM automatically signals back to the user, and the graphical interface can be used to highlight and examine the conditions of the channel. Interfacing the OWMs with appropriate network element drivers, it is possible to efficiently lock lasers, selectively attenuate wavelengths; dynamically switch wavelengths, add/drop wavelengths and control amplifier gain and balance transponder outputs - permitting rapid provisioning. Comparing the inputs from multiple, local monitoring points provides the real-time status of the entire network and further increases network reliability by revealing problems in the physical plant, such as fiber degradation, connector failures, and splice failures.

The OWM includes a high-resolution optical performance monitor, an on-board computer for real-time analysis and complex measurements and an on-board computer for communications, and applications. The OWM performance monitor is based on classical passive optics. It non-intrusively measures every wavelength using less than one percent of the power in the fiber without adding costly, complex electronics and active optics. Standard network interfaces include 10BaseT, and RS-232. Communications options include FTP, Telnet and dial-up. Two PCMCIA slots are available, and the system includes front panel LED's for alarms and monitors. The software applications include interfaces to SNMP. TL1 will be available in the future. The application is available on Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 98. The OWM is NEBS Level 3 and CE compliant.

The OWM is available now.

About Lightchip:

Lightchip's metro wavelength routing and management technology enables carriers to lay the foundation for convergent, next-generation network services. For more information, visit

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