Ciena OneConnect control plane software now common to transport and switching platforms

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) says its optical transport equipment will soon be able to use the same control plane software as its optical switching systems. Use of the upgraded software, dubbed OneConnect Intelligent Control Plane, across both system classes will enable carriers to create and deploy new services more quickly and efficiently, say company sources.

May 23rd, 2012

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) says its optical transport equipment will soon be able to use the same control plane software as its optical switching systems. Use of the upgraded software, dubbed OneConnect Intelligent Control Plane, across both system classes will enable carriers to create and deploy new services more quickly and efficiently, say company sources.

OneConnect enhances the ability of operators to program network performance and add virtualization features. The ability to offer optical virtual private network (O-VPN) services is one result; more than 40 percent bandwidth savings for service restoration and up to 30 percent latency reduction in highly meshed networks in some carrier networks are two more, Ciena asserts. Reliability also can improve, with some customers reporting 99.9999 percent uptime, the company adds.

According to Ciena’s Thomas Mock, senior vice president, corporate marketing and communications, and Theresa Cauble product marketing director, the new capabilities are in line with the aims of the software-defined network (SDN) movement, in that OneConnect lets network operators control the performance of the network via software. For example, service providers can create bandwidth-on-demand offerings, or more easily take into account such factors as latency, diversity, and restoration priority and timing in creating and deploying new services.

As for direct connection with the SDN mainstream, Cauble said that Ciena does have plans to link OneConnect with OpenFlow. She said the company was not providing details of these plans at this time.

The software supports GMPLS and ASON standards. It also can run SONET/SDH and Optical Transport Network (OTN) capabilities simultaneously to enable migration from legacy networks to more packet-centric architectures.

OneConnect builds off of the control plane software 90% of Ciena’s customers have used in conjunction with the company’s optical switching systems. Therefore, OneConnect capabilities are now available for use on those platforms. Mock and Cauble say that carrier customers are now conducting trials of OneConnect with Ciena’s optical transport platforms. They expect field deployments will begin in the second half of this year.

“Automated control plane-based optical networks have been operating for years in the core of the network with great success,” said Ron Kline, principal analyst at Ovum, via Ciena’s press release. “Extending control plane functionality to the network edge and adding policy-based programming control substantially increases an operator’s ability to differentiate and create new services to monetize network assets. Therefore, we anticipate growing interest in such features.”

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