Transmode prepares packet-optical SDN strategy, products

Transmode has unveiled its software-defined networking (SDN) strategy for packet-optical transport network equipment and says product availability starts in December 2013.

Transmode has unveiled its software-defined networking (SDN) strategy for packet-optical transport network equipment and says product availability starts in December 2013.

SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) have the potential to bring great advantages to network operators of all sizes, and it’s important to get the strategy right from the outset, the company says.

"With all the industry excitement around SDN and NFV we decided to take our time before adding our voice to the many that are already preaching the virtues of this new approach to network control,” said Transmode's chief technology officer, Sten Nordell. “This has allowed us to develop a strategy and roadmap that we believe is highly suited to SDN for transport networks and that allows our large customer base to migrate to an SDN-enabled environment in a simple and controlled step-by-step approach."

Transmode's SDN-enabled packet-optical networks will support fully automated multi-layer path computation element (PCE) based path provisioning for all MPLS-TP, Ethernet, and Layer 1 services. In addition, the approach will also support hierarchical SDN controllers and multi-vendor environments through open standardized interfaces such as OpenFlow, PCEP, and MTOSI. An important additional feature of Transmode's approach to SDN is the use of virtual router functions using NFV functionality. This gives operators the ability to support network virtualization and end-to-end path provisioning across multi-vendor/domain networks, the company asserts.

Nordell added, "We believe the combination of the PCE-based controller to control Transmode's packet-optical network elements, the open and standardized interfaces using protocols such as OpenFlow and PCEP, and the NFV-based virtual router functions, makes a powerful transport-oriented SDN architecture. This allows our customers to take advantage of highly automated multi-layer end-to-end service provision which means lower operating costs and better network utilization."

The first components of Transmode's SDN controller environment, forming part of Transmode's Enlighten multi-layer management/control suite, will become available in December 2013, with further capabilities to follow in later releases. Transmode promises that all existing TM-Series nodes will be able to migrate to the SDN environment without any hardware upgrades, allowing operators to migrate to an SDN when they want to, with simple additions to the control/management suite.

For example, Transmode's family of Layer 2 Ethernet Muxponders (EMXP) is already prepared to support the addition of the SDN-based virtual router functions, Transmode says. This capability allows the network to intercept external protocol messages from incoming traffic ports and then use the SDN controller to interpret and act on these messages, enabling automation of service provisioning from network to network.

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