Pros and Cons of Low-margin Optical Networks

Thursday, 10 June 15:00 – 17:00


Martin Birk, Curbius, USA
Yvan Pointurier, Huawei, France
Jane M. Simmons, Monarch Network Architects, USA
Sorin Tibuleac, ADVA Optical Networking, USA


Traditional optical networks are over-engineered due to conservative assumptions used in the planning process with regard to module characteristics, system performance, and network fiber infrastructure, and due to the requirement to sustain many years of error/failure-free operation with limited reconfigurations (if any). As a result, typical optical networks operate with high performance margins and underutilized capacity. However, modern optical networks with flexible ROADMs, highly-configurable transponders and (typically SDN-based) software control may have a shorter circuit lifetime than traditional fixed optical networks.

Furthermore, the ability to pull performance data on many parameters from ROADMs, transponders and amplifiers every second, or even faster, enables unprecedented visibility into the optical-layer behavior and enables novel analytic techniques including machine learning. As we approach the practical limits of spectral efficiency, one avenue to further increase capacity is to more accurately determine the actual performance of the optical network, how close it is from failing, and operate it at higher capacity with lower margin.

This panel will investigate the new trend for lower margin optical networks. We will start with the network-operator panelists presenting their vision and goals, followed by system-vendor and academic panelists discussing implementation challenges and proposed solutions.


Andrew Lord, British Telecom Labs, UK
Low-margin Optical Networks: How Close to the Cliff-edge Are Service Providers Prepared to Walk?

Glenn Wellbrock, Verizon, USA
Waste Not, Want Not

Tim Stuch, Facebook, USA
Low Margin Operating Points In Submarine Fiber Cable Networks

David Boertjes, Ciena, Canada
Leveraging Margin In Adaptive Networks

Camille Delezoide, Nokia Bell Labs, France
Data-Driven Optical Network Design and Operation

Daniel Kilper, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Eliminating Margins: What's Holding Us Back?