• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

OFC 2016 Plenary: The Open Optics Revolution

By Casimer DeCusatis

The OFC plenary is always an exciting and thought-provoking presentation, and this year will be no exception. The photonics industry is being disrupted by emerging technologies such as network function virtualization (NFV), software defined networking (SDN), and radical new network architectures. Many traditional optics providers are struggling with the implications of this wave of change, and how it will impact their business models and the people they serve. One of this year's plenary speakers is the man responsible for delivering AT&T’s next generation network architecture, Andre Fuetsch.

Nowhere is this transformation more evident than the large incumbent telecommunication carriers, who are remaking themselves in an effort to survive and thrive in this new business climate. The Domain 2.0 initiative from AT&T is an excellent example of how a century-old company is embracing new technologies, revamping its supply chain, and retraining its people. As Senior Vice President of Domain 2.0, Fuetsch leads a team of over 2,000 engineers and computer scientists charged with delivering new product and service offerings with dramatically lower time to market and significant opex and capex savings. His presentation will discuss key aspects of AT&T’s bold new direction, which includes SDN, NFV, and an increased focus on open source solutions instead of vendor-proprietary, “black box” hardware. Optical network designs need to be simplified so that consumers can self-provision network services.  Efficiencies are gained by using SDN to centralize management and control of the optical infrastructure, delivering bandwidth where and when it’s needed rather than over-provisioning circuits. Just as SDN implies open, “white box” networking hardware, AT&T plans to deliver solutions faster at lower cost by provisioning more in software and relying on multi-vendor interoperability to create a competitive hardware ecosystem that drives down capex expenses. This includes an unprecedented wide-scale adoption of SDN and NFV, as well as migration to a more agile, User-Defined Network Cloud

In particular, the new AT&T network architecture relies on open ROADMs to encourage multi-vendor solutions which leverage best of breed features, rather than locking AT&T into a single equipment provider. The plenary will include a discussion of AT&T’s vision for flexible ROADMs, and how they can enable new business models and value propositions for the company. Given AT&T’s role as a bell weather company in telecommunications and cloud networking, both equipment providers and other service providers are sure to be watching the results of AT&T’s efforts closely. Be sure not to miss this plenary, and get the inside story on how open source ROADMs and other optical technologies are enabling the future of carrier networking. 

Can't attend the OFC plenary?  Sign up to view the live stream.

With so many people at OFC, I’ll be lucky to get a dial tone on my cell phone in the convention center, but if you do, then ping me @Dr_Casimer on Twitter and we can talk about how AT&T’s efforts will affect your company in the coming year. 

Posted: 21 March 2016 by Casimer DeCusatis | with 0 comments

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC)  or its sponsors.