• A Hybrid Conference – In-Person and Virtual Presentations
  • Technical Conference:  24 – 28 March 2024
  • Exhibition: 26 – 28 March 2024
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

Short Courses

SC447 - The Life Cycle of an Optical Network: From Planning to Decommissioning

Monday, 25 March
13:30 - 16:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Advanced Beginner and Intermediate


Andrew Lord, BT Labs, BT, UK

Short Course Description:

This course walks the delegates through an entire optical network life cycle from an operator’s point of view, from the initial requirements, vendor selection, network design and planning, installation and provisioning, operation and management and final use as a legacy technology before retiring the network. Frequent referral is made to actual network scenarios. The course will cover a large number of network related questions, without going into unnecessary depth. These will include overall network design including layers above the optical layer, questions around network flexibility, resilience and reliability. It will also examine physical layer questions of power budgets, margins, ageing and practical installation issues. Operational issues look at different approaches to adding capacity, handling potential technology upgrades within the lifecycle of the network, network monitoring and handling of network failures and fiber breaks. Whilst not excluding older technology solutions, the course will focus on high speed coherent-based optical core networks and the different challenges arising on the metro side. Practical aspects will be considered including power and space requirements in exchange buildings. Looking into the future, the course will consider to what extent flexibility in the optical layer is important in areas such as flexgrid, optical superchannels, bit-rate variable transponders and levels of flexibility within the ROADM node. Specific questions around 400Gb/s will be included, with references to ZR optics. There will be coverage of so-called multi-band solutions, as the industry looks beyond pure C-band operation. Also included will be an introduction to the capabilities of more automated management solutions such as SDN, especially with regard to integrated solutions with both higher layer transport clients and data centre functions. Finally the course will assess the overall cycle in terms of technology cost-effectiveness and life-time.


Short Course Benefits:

  • Identify key activities comprising whole-life optical network procurement, design, operation and management
  • Sense the broad time scale for an optical network including reasons for building it and factors affecting how long it should be in operation. 
  • Appreciate different types of optical network and the range of network operator requirements. Deduce the implications for the solution design.
  • Review the range of optical network technologies available to build networks, covering legacy through to future roadmap options. 
  • Understand the need for appropriate resilience and reliability across the network, from devices, sub-systems, network equipment and overall network operation
  • Explore how unpredictable future traffic drives the need for both network flexibility and capacity growth and appreciate that the scope for both flexibility and growth imply increased network cost
  • Appreciate the impact of the quality of the available optical fibre infrastructure on the phsyical layer system design, including margin allowance. 
  • Grasp the impact on future networks of new technologies, including flexible transceivers and ROADMs, and finer resolution wavelength grid and a more open contol anad management based around Software Defined Networking (SDN)
Short Course Audience:

This advanced-beginner course is intended for a diverse audience – in fact anyone wanting a broad operator-based perspective on the optical network journey. No in-depth knowledge will be required – the objective is sufficient breadth that anyone will be able to see where their field of expertise fits into the overall picture.

Instructor Biography:

Andrew Lord joined BT in 1985 after a BA in Physics from Oxford University. He has worked on a wide range of optical network systems and technologies, including long haul subsea and terrestrial DWDM networks. He currently heads BT’s optical core and access research including quantum communications. He has published over 100 research papers. He was General Chair for the Optical Fiber Communications Conference (OFC) 2017 in Los Angeles. He is Visiting Professor at Essex University, a Senior Member of the IEEE and Chartered Engineer and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Lightwave Technology. He won the prestigious BT Martlesham Medal in 2018. He is currently project manager for the EU Metro-Haul Project and the UK-funded AIRQKD projects.