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Optical Networking Trends that Aren’t Spelled SDN

By Scott Wilkinson

Telecommunications and optical networking are going through a welcome resurgence after years of relative stagnation following the telecom crash in the late 1990s and early 2000s. New technological advancements are reinvigorating networks to meet explosive demands from data centers, non-traditional carriers, content delivery networks and ubiquitous video. Trends like Software-Defined Networking (SDN) show great possibilities for enhanced network capabilities, and most vendors now have an SDN story to tout. However, it can be easy to overlook other equally exciting trends in optical networking that are making an even bigger impact today.
10G Everywhere: 10G has become as popular today as T1s were ten years ago and Gigabit Ethernet five years ago. In the datacenter, 10G has become the interconnect speed of choice. Traditional carriers are using 10G as their default enterprise access technology, as the cost of 10G services has dropped dramatically. Industry predictions now show sub-10G optical transceiver sales leveling off and declining over the next five years in favor of low-cost, standardized 10G pluggable optics.
Economical 100G: 100G was a science project just a few years ago, but is now available as a pluggable optic. CFPs support “gray” and metro (4x25Gbps) optical formats and coherent CFPs are expected to be available later this year. In the next year or two, CFPs will be phased out in favor of smaller formats (CFP2, CFP4, QSFP) with even better economics. The move to a standard pluggable format is resulting in a drastic reduction in power requirements and cost, and the rapid advancement of 100G deployments even in smaller metro networks.
Dynamic Networks: With increasing traffic demands and a decreasing ability to accurately predict where the demands are coming from or going to next, dynamic networks are becoming a standard requirement. Advances in ROADM technology and control plane management are leading to increasingly dynamic and intelligent network designs that can change based on demand.
It is once again an exciting time to be in the optical networking business, as new technologies and new demands are advancing evolution towards truly innovative networks of the future.

- Scott Wilkinson, Senior Director of Technical Marketing, MRV Communications

Posted: 5 March 2014 by Scott Wilkinson | with 0 comments

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