The Optical Networking and Communication
Conference & Exhibition

Los Angeles Convention Center,
Los Angeles, California, USA

Panel I: Vertically Integrated WDM Platforms vs Open Line Systems

Panel I: Vertically Integrated WDM Platforms vs Open Line Systems

Wednesday, 23 March
11:00 - 12:30

Zeljko Bulut, Coriant, USA

Panel Description:

The measure of the competitiveness in optical transport has always been the cost per bit transported.  The vertical integration strategy has been seen as the single path to deliver on that objective.  As a result, over the last several years we have witnessed a rise in innovative technology and components in this space. Although vertical integration has great potential, end users were not always getting the cost benefits anticipated, as the insourcing increasingly has led to technology fragmentation and numerous proprietary solutions that no longer profit from economies of scale.

More and more requests for an open transport platform are coming from both traditional and alternative service providers. The purpose is to deliver fully interoperable network functions such as an open line system, programmable ROADMs, transponders and pluggables. The notion is that such open architectures would entice even more competition and take full advantage of the economy of scale to lower the cost per bit. Given such a low price of pluggable interfaces, for example 10G SFP+, is it realistic to expect that the industry can deliver further price breaks.

This panel will discuss the pros and cons of each approach and seek to understand which of these two business and network implementation strategies will eventually prevail and why, or if they will coexist over a longer period of time. What incentive will systems vendors have to differentiate?


Tom Issenhuth, Optical Network Architect, Microsoft, USA

Shoukei Kobayashi, Senior Research Engineer, NTT, Japan

Bikash Koley, Distinguished Engineer & Director, Network Architecture and Engineering, Google, USA

John Paggi, AT&T, USA

Glenn Wellbrock, Verizon, USA


Tom Issenhuth
Tom Issenhuth is responsible for the architecture and roadmap of the Microsoft’s optical networks both inside and outside the data centers.  He joined Microsoft in this position in November 2011.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Tom was the Principal Network Architect for the Level 3 Communications optical network since the company’s inception in 1997 until November 2011.  In 2012 Level 3 operated the largest Internet Service Provider network in the world which services over 2,700 major corporations in 450 markets with over 100,000 route miles of fiber.  Tom’s optical responsibilities included metro, intercity and trans-oceanic networks in North America, Europe and Asia.  With the initial Level 3 optical network Tom lead the effort that drove the optical industry to focus on cost in their network designs resulting in greater reach and lower costs.  With the start of web scale growth in the Level 3 network Tom led the effort that worked with optical equipment vendors to develop the required capabilities, scale and industry leading pricing which allowed Level 3 to support the largest Internet backbone and wave business in the world. 
Prior to joining Level 3 in 1997, Tom spent 9 years at Metropolitan Fiber Systems (MFS) where he designed and deployed numerous metro fiber networks in North America and Europe.  At MFS Tom led the effort to transition away from asynchronous optical equipment to SONET equipment which resulted in the first major SONET deployment in the US.  Tom was based in Europe for three years where he led the effort to expand the MFS optical networks to Europe and was instrumental in designing one of the first non-consortium trans-Atlantic cable systems. 

Shoukei Kobayashi
Shoukei Kobayashi received the B.E. and M.E. degrees in applied physics from Nagoya University, Nagoya, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. He joined Nippon Telegram and Telephone (NTT) Corporation in 1994. He has been engaged in the study and development of optical subscriber system, Ethernet and OTN network systems.

Bikash Koley
Bikash is currently the Distinguished Engineer & Director, Network Architecture and Engineering at Google,  Prior to Google, Bikash was the CTO of Qstreams Networks, a company he co-founded. Bikash also spent several years at Ciena Corporation in various technical roles developing DWDM and Ethernet technologies. Bikash is a frequent speaker in conferences and industry forums and is an active participant in various networking standard bodies. He received a B.Tech. from IIT, India; and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park, all in Electrical Engineering.

Glenn Wellbrock
Glenn Wellbrock is the Director of Optical Transport Network Architecture and Design at Verizon, where he is responsible for the development of new technologies for both the metro and long haul transport infrastructure.  Previous positions include running the advanced technology lab, establishing evaluation criteria, and setting engineering guidelines for all backbone transport equipment as well as various positions within network operations.  In addition to his 20+ years at Verizon (1984-2001 & 2004-present), Glenn was responsible for Product Architecture within the USA focused optical networks group at Marconi and Product Planning at Qplus Networks with a specific focus on developing alternative modulation techniques. 

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