The Optical Networking and Communication
Conference & Exhibition

Los Angeles Convention Center,
Los Angeles, California, USA

Panel VI: SDN and Optics – What is the Business Case?

Thursday, 23 March
12:30 - 14:00
Theater I

Sterling Perrin; Sr. Analyst – Optical Networking & Transport, Heavy Reading, USA

Panel Description:

The optics industry was one of the first to seize onto the SDN trend, once it moved out of its campus/data center origins.  But, translation from optical layer technical work into operator field trials and real-world deployments has been slow relative to other areas, such as in Ethernet and routing. Still, global operator interest in bringing the benefits of SDN down to the optical layer remains high.
This session is designed to move beyond the hype, focus on the optical layer, and assess the real world business benefits of combining SDN and optics.
Some of the questions addressed in this panel will include:

  • Of the various optical layer use cases have been floated over the past three years, which ones are showing the most real promise today?

  • What role will SDN play in functional disaggregation of optical equipment?

  • How do we use SDN to control and manage the overall network – packet layer, OTN and DWDM?

  • What are the primary benefits of multilayer optimization and restoration?

  • What SDN lessons can telcos/cable companies take from Web 2.0 providers, and where is the path forward decidedly different?

  • Does SDN really breathe new life into IP+optical integration or will the next decade look a lot like the last?



Chris Janz; Technical VP Transmission Product Line, Huawei, Canada
Thomas Mueller; Juniper Networks, USA
Steve Vogelsang; Nokia
Bill Walker, Director of Network Architecture – SDN/NFV/Cloud, Centurylink, USA    


Sterling Perrin; Sr. Analyst – Optical Networking & Transport, Heavy Reading, USA (Moderator)

Sterling Perrin is a Senior Analyst – Optical Networking & Transport at Heavy Reading. Sterling has more than 15 years' experience in telecommunications as an industry analyst and journalist. His coverage area at Heavy Reading is optical networking, including packet-optical transport. He also authors Heavy Reading's Packet-Enabled Optical Networking Market Tracker and Next-Gen Core Packet-Optical Market Tracker. Sterling joined Heavy Reading after five years at IDC, where he served as lead optical networks analyst, responsible for the firm's optical networking subscription research and custom consulting activities. Prior to IDC, Sterling worked for Standard & Poor's, where he delivered global industry analysis on a range of IT segments. He is a former journalist and editor at Telecommunications Magazine, and has also done consulting work for the research firm Current Analysis. Sterling is a frequent speaker at telecom industry events and a highly sought-after source among the business and trade press. Sterling graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College. He can be reached at

Chris Janz; Technical VP Transmission Product Line, Huawei, Canada

Christopher Janz is a Technical Vice President at the Huawei Canada Research Centre, where he leads a team focused on Transport SDN product architecture, development and research.  He is a frequent speaker and writer on these topics and has been active in relevant standards organizations, including the Open Networking Foundation where he recently co-chaired the intent interfaces sub-group.  He has more than twenty years of industry experience in companies including Marconi, Alcatel, Akara and Ciena and in roles ranging from product R&D and product management to technology strategy.  He holds a PhD degree from the University of Alberta, an MBA from Queen’s University and a BEng degree from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Thomas Mueller; Director for Optical & Transport Network Architecture, Juniper Networks, USA

Thomas Mueller is Director for Optical & Transport Network Architecture at Juniper Networks. He has been working on transport network architectures for major Network Operators worldwide for over 27 years. He has performed or lead many multi-layer network architecture studies including business case evaluations. Currently, Thomas focuses on SDN controllers and multi-layer packet transport. Before joining Juniper, Thomas worked for Bell-Labs/Lucent Technologies/Alcatel-Lucent for many years.

Steve Vogelsang; Vice President, Strategy & CTO, IP/Optical Networks, Nokia, USA

Steve has over 20 years of experience in networking and telecommunications. He is currently responsible for Nokia’s IP routing and transport business strategy. Steve was previously Vice President Marketing for ECI Telecom's Data Networking Division following ECI's acquisition of Laurel Networks. Steve was a founder and Vice President Marketing of Laurel Networks which was among the few startups that successfully delivered service router products into the market. Over several years with Laurel Steve led the company's initial business development, product management, sales, and marketing activities. Previously, with FORE Systems, Steve held a variety of positions in customer support, systems engineering, product management, and strategic marketing.

Bill Walker, Director of Network Architecture – SDN/NFV/Cloud, Centurylink, USA    

Bill has extensive experience in multiple industries, including telecommunications, energy, retail, banking and finance, government and public sector, and healthcare.  His past customers include much of the "Fortune Global 500", including diverse names such as eBay, Vodafone, Amazon, TracFone, Chase, PetroChina, OnStar/GM, GE, Intercontinental Hotel Group, MTN Group, Freddie Mac, NTT-DOCOMO, and China Merchant Bank. Prior to CenturyLink, Bill was with Huawei, based in Shenzhen China.  At Huawei, Bill led the IoT, Smart CIty, and Carrier IT initiatives, and was an early supporter of SDN and NFV efforts.  Bill also worked in the CTO office at Huawei, designing SDN Federation and emerging security solutions for carriers.  Before Huawei, Bill was a Principal Engineer and Technical Director at Oracle and Sun Microsystems, where he spent most of his 12 years in Project Delivery, Consulting and Professional Services, both in the US, and in global roles based in China and India.  At Oracle, Bill was Director of Enterprise Architecture, creating business/IT integrations for key customer accounts in the US.  During the beginnings of the dot-com era, Bill was a founding partner and spent 5 years as CTO for a successful systems integrator in the US.  He is co-author of a best-selling book, "Capacity Planning for Internet Services" based on his experience with eBay, growing the garage-founded Internet property to the mega-scale trading center that it became at the dot-com peak. His professional background also includes U.S. Government sponsored IT research through DoD, DARPA and MITRE, with a variety of projects in biometrics, fingerprint analysis, analytics-based security modeling and passive collection techniques, IT outsourcing and alternative procurement business models in healthcare modernization, and large scale identity systems.

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