Ciena refreshes packet networking vision for metro and access networks

Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has announced a refresh of its packet networking approach. The series of enhancements include operating system upgrades to enable what it calls Adaptive IP capabilities, wider use of coherent optics, more efficient handling of legacy TDM services support, a new service aggregation platform, and improved network management capabilities.

Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has announced a refresh of its packet networking approach. The series of enhancements include operating system upgrades to enable what it calls Adaptive IP capabilities, wider use of coherent optics, more efficient handling of legacy TDM services support, a new service aggregation platform, and improved network management capabilities.

According to Brian Lavallée, senior director of portfolio solutions at Ciena, the sweeping enhancements aim to decrease network complexity as operators scale to support upcoming 5G rollouts, increased deployment of Layer 2/3 business services, migration from TDM to packet-based transport, delivery of virtual network functions and, in the case of cable operators, fiber-deep deployments in their access networks. The upgrades begin with new IP capabilities for the company’s Service-Aware Operating System to enable Adaptive IP, which enables an open, programmable IP architecture that will improve service delivery times and enhance network flexibility. The SAOS upgrades will be available first on Ciena’s previously announced 5170 Service Aggregation Platform as well as a new system, the 5162 Service Aggregation Platform. The 5162 is similar to the 5170, says Lavallée, but optimized for support of Layer 3 virtual private network (VPN) services. It also supports Carrier Ethernet, MPLS, timing distribution, OAM, and telemetry functions, and offers NETCONF/YANG support as well as the ability to host native or utility virtual network functions (VNFs).

Ciena also plans to roll out coherent optics across at least some of its packet networking portfolio. The move began with the company’s 8180 Coherent Networking Platform introduced at OFC 2018; the 8180 is a platform similar to the Waveserver data center interconnect platform with packet switching features that Lavallée says is targeted at the cable MSO space. (The platform just earned a score of 4.5 out of 5.0 in sister site Broadband Technology Report’s 2018 Diamond Technology Reviews.) Ciena now plans to add coherent capabilities to the 5170. Lavallée said other platforms also will receive coherent capabilities in the future to what he described as “newer, higher-capacity” platforms.

Meanwhile, Ciena’s flagship 6500 Packet Transport System will see the introduction of new line cards that will enable operators to deliver TDM services to SONET/SDN/PDH customers while continuing the evolution toward all-packet networks on the same converged infrastructure. Through the new cards, the 6500 will be able to convert incoming TDM services into packet-based flows for transport over an otherwise all-packet network, and vice versa.

In the management realm, Ciena will add Layer 3 route assurance and optimization capabilities to its Blue Planet Management Portfolio. The new features derive from technology gained when Ciena bought Packet Design.

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