Lumen co-develops ExaSwitch optical interconnection platform with Google and Microsoft

June 12, 2023
ExaSwitch is designed to enable “participants” to route traffic dynamically and quickly between networks without third-party intervention. Such participants will include ISPs, cloud providers, large content providers, and enterprises, according to Lumen.

Lumen Technologies (NYSE: LUMN) has unveiled ExaSwitch, which the network services provider describes as “a new network interconnection ecosystem.” Developed in collaboration with Google and Microsoft, ExaSwitch is designed to enable “participants” to route traffic dynamically and quickly between networks without third-party intervention.

Such participants will include ISPs, cloud providers, large content providers, and enterprises, according to Lumen. Early adopters of ExaSwitch include Lumen, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and “an additional large cloud provider,” Lumen did not further identify.

In practice, the ExaSwitch administrator will install the requisite optical network equipment at the locations of the participants’ choosing. Those participants will be responsible for the fiber links to that equipment. When two participants agree to connect, they self-provision that connection or leverage an API portal driven and managed by the administrator. Connections are set up in 400G increments and can be consumed on demand in 100G increments, with each site capable of up to 25.6 Tbps of optical cross connect.

Capacity can be deployed in real time, with participants able to order, modify, and delete services as needed. Lumen is acting as the administrator for the initial deployments.

Lumen has ExaSwitch platform capabilities running in Chicago, Dallas, and Virginia, and plans to expand the platform’s reach to all major markets in North America with large internet hubs.

"The days of slow, legacy cross connects are over; ExaSwitch is the future of network interconnections," asserted Andrew Dugan, CTO at Lumen. "Large network backbones no longer need a physical location to connect. Instead, optical switching will be used to establish high-capacity optical links between metro sites. And it's so much more than just internet peering; it's an on-demand network connection for quickly deploying needed capacity across all types of data traffic exchanges."

"The ExaSwitch optical switching platform is an innovative on-demand ecosystem for automating, scaling and managing high-value interconnect services," commented Courtney Monroe, vice president of telecommunications research for IDC, via a Lumen press release. "It is poised to disrupt legacy manual platforms as well as the way enterprises, and the IT ecosystem interconnect, procure and manage interconnectivity."

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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