ADVA pushes GMPLS for packet-optical transport

ADVA Optical Networking (FSE: ADV) hopes to strengthen its position in packet-optical systems with the announcement it has launched a new user network interface (UNI) for its Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) control plane.

Feb 7th, 2012

ADVA Optical Networking (FSE: ADV) hopes to strengthen its position in packet-optical systems with the announcement it has launched a new user network interface (UNI) for its Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) control plane.

The new functionality, which is available on ADVA’s FSP300 DWDM platform, will enable operators to unite packet networks with optical transport technology, the company claims. The UNI enables client equipment, in this case IP/MPLS routers, to request services from the optical transport layer and have those requests filled automatically without need for manual intervention.

"If you’re interested in the more combined model of packet-optical transport with best-of-breed on the packet side and best-of-breed on the optical side then [our solution] is the first choice, because all this interworking, it’s proven and it works," claimed Stephan Rettenberger, vice president of marketing at ADVA Optical Networking.

The ability to automate complex operations in optical networks has been on carriers’ wish lists for more than a decade because it could afford them huge savings in operational costs as well as the ability to respond much more rapidly to customer requirements. Finally, the necessary pieces to make this happen are falling into place. The GMPLS control plane allows routers to signal across the network, while colorless, directionless, contention-less ROADMs set up and tear down wavelengths in response to those requests.

ADVA claims to have one of the most mature GMPLS control planes in the industry, having inherited it with the purchase of Movaz Networks in 2006 (see "ADVA adds Movaz Networks"). The company says that the GMPLS control plane is such an embedded part of the optical transport platform that it hadn’t really singled it out for mention until now. "It was never really positioned as something that would do anything outside the transport layer," Rettenberger explained.

What has changed over the last 18 months is ADVA’s relationship with Juniper, he says. Juniper took a small stake in the optical networking vendor in 2010, and now resells ADVA’s FSP3000 as part of its PTX packet-optical platform (see "Juniper Networks invests $3M in ADVA Optical Networking"). The pair have also been working together to automate more functions and improve the interworking between Juniper’s other products, such as its MX Series of edge routers, and ADVA’s DWDM platform.

In the context of ADVA’s relationship with Juniper, the UNI has become increasingly important. ADVA’s DWDM platform has always supported the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) UNI, which tends to be favored by optical transport vendors. However, it is the UNI defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that provides the necessary glue between GMPLS and the IP/MPLS layer, and is more commercially relevant to packet-optical transport, says Rettenberger. ADVA’s FSP3000 platform now offers both.

ADVA and Juniper Networks had previously demonstrated interoperability of ADVA’s FSP3000 platform with Juniper’s MX Series of Universal Edge Routers, using it to set up and tear down circuits on the Irish research and education network HEAnet (see "ADVA Optical Networking, Juniper Networks demo optical circuit provisioning on Irish network").

For its part, Juniper Networks says that the capability represents "a significant milestone in the development of packet optical networks."

"For the first time the industry has a method to integrate packet networks and optical domains into one seamless network while retaining their traditional control and management mechanisms," said Luc Ceuppens, Juniper’s vice president of product marketing. "This dramatically increases the service speed and reliability for operators. We’ve already seen a strong response from our customers who need this level of transparency and service automation between routers and optical transport equipment."

The new UNI is available commercially with the next release of the FSP3000.

For more information on packet-optical systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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