The essential elements of open optical networking
The industry has discussed, analyzed and hyped open optical networking for several years. So where are we now? What will it take to extend adoption beyond hyperscalers to all tiers of infrastructure-based service providers? While cost remains a key factor, open optical networking is now about enabling and creating network value.
The initial promises for open optical networking and related disaggregation concepts were to unlock the most suitable technology and architecture options and enable competitive vendor offers for multilayer, SDN-based networks. Yes, initially, it was all about cost.
Addressing open optical networking challenges
Leading hyperscalers have successfully adopted and widely deployed open optical solutions in recent years. Early-adopter tier 1 service providers, such as those in the TIP MUST camp, are driving open standards development and testing, and initiating commercial network deployments of partially disaggregated, open optical architectures. In the process, they are confronting system integration and interoperability challenges.
Innovators and early adopters expect to encounter these types of obstacles. But service providers that are more cautious or constrained by budgets and resources may consider evolving to an open model. They can do this by partnering with a vendor that offers an end-to-end integrated portfolio of modular hardware that includes built-in open agents and complementary open software applications. This “shrink-wrapped,” risk-averse approach delivers value-added operational benefits beyond capital cost reductions.
Why operators are embracing open optical networking
All the buzz aside, there are three main strategic business and technical motivations for open optical networking:
- Transforming networks into responsive, automated, high-value platforms.
- Scaling networks to meet dynamic and diverse traffic demands, support new services and business models, and increase performance and resilience.
- Optimizing networks to make more efficient use of resources and reduce cost per transported bit.
Operators are pursuing these aims by using open optical network architectures and technologies to take advantage of the fast pace of coherent transport innovation. With open networks, operators can decouple the relatively long lifespan of DWDM line systems from that or shorter lifespan transponders. They can also unlock value by using open networks to enable automated operations that accelerate and improve service activation and availability.
What operators need for open optical networking
Network operators that are assessing open optical networking solutions have important hardware, software and operational aspects to consider. The essential characteristics and criteria for high-value open optical network solutions include:
- Scalable application-optimized infrastructure; Operators need options for chassis-based systems in telco form factors and disaggregated data center-optimized compact modular platforms that can implement advanced coherent optics, line systems and open agents.
- Open programmability and control: Operators need options for multivendor SDN hierarchical control/orchestration and domain management and control. These options must enable them to support third-party open transponders and terminals, open line systems and open pluggable transceivers using standardized northbound T-API and southbound OpenConfig APIs as well as standardized NETCONF/YANG-based data models.
- Open, automated network control and operations software applications: Operators need network insight applications that can use streaming telemetry and AI-based thresholding data accessed through open agents and data models to automate operations and optimize network performance, capacity and resource consumption.
Operators can get these essential elements by choosing a complete open optical solution that includes complementary hardware, software, and services. The solution components should utilize open features and automation capabilities to take advantage of today’s advanced coherent-optimized optical performance. The right solution will enable an operator to:
- Scale network capacity and capabilities: Grow capacity while improving performance and automating network operations.
- Optimize network infrastructure and operations: Make more efficient use of network resources to reduce cost per bit.
- Create value: Support new cloud-based services and business models without adding OPEX.
How Nokia is supporting open optical networking
Nokia is playing a significant role in developing open optical networking standards, including open interfaces such as the ONF T-API and the OIF 400ZR coherent interface. We supported the latest OIF transport SDN API interop demo and the first-ever 400ZR multivendor interop demo at OFC 2022.
The OIF 400ZR IP–optical interop demo at ECOC 2022 (19–21 September in Basel, Switzerland) features components of our value-added open optical networking solution including the Nokia 1830 PSI-L compact modular open optical line system and Nokia 400ZR coherent modules. You might say, these are essential elements of an open optical networking solution.
Solution: Nokia Open Optical Networking
Web page: OIF 400ZR/OLS Interop Demo at ECOC 2022
Press release: OIF Members to Showcase Multivendor Interoperability for Critical Networking Technologies at ECOC 2022