Monday, December 19, 2022

Blueprint: Building wholesale networks with OTN

by Chris Janson, Product Marketing Manager, Optical Networking

As we ring in the new year, the transformation of business digitalization continues. We see enterprises increasingly dependent upon networks of highly connected devices and systems to control everything from customer transactions to just-in-time manufacturing. About a year ago, IDC outlined its predictions for 2022 digital transformation. In their report, they foresaw 50% of organizations had transformation plans in place by the end of 2022, and a year later, 90% of organizations would be prioritizing investments in digital tools that augment physical facilities. 

These things come as no surprise to those watching enterprises and their use of technology. Large retailers like Amazon continue to invest in regional warehouses with highly automated inventory control systems. Governments continue to roll out digital systems to control things like municipal parking lots and tax payments. Driving this adoption is the desire to provide better service at lower cost, taking advantage of enabling technologies such as IoT devices and handheld computing power in nearly everyone’s hands (i.e., your smartphone). The result is far-flung entities and their digitalized operations have one thing in common: the need for highly reliable and secure network connectivity. 

Implications for network connectivity

A common thread through any enterprise’s digitalized architecture is the need to connect independent devices and compute or storage capacity. This network aggregates mobile and IoT wireless devices onto an IP-optical wireline network. Modern cellular architecture offers high capacity, low latency, and very resilient performance which must be matched by the backbone network. At layer 3, IP-MPLS routing offers a powerful ability to steer traffic flows exactly where needed and while router capacity continues to grow in pace with demand, there will be a need to perform multiplexing and switching at lower network layers, in the physical backbone network. 

This backbone network needs to be capable of scale and capacity growth matched to the needs of the enterprise. Thirst for capacity has been expanding exponentially for years, demanding that IP-optical networks expand correspondingly. This need for scale has been met through higher capacity routing as well as higher capacity DWDM optical transport systems. Fiber capacities now commonly exceed 400Gbps per wavelength, with some systems now exceeding 1Tbps per wavelength. 

Line capacity is but one performance metric. Service providers must also consider the need for service flexibility, assurance, and security. Flexibility delivers various service protocols and speeds needed by each customer while ensuring performance at defined service level agreement tiers. At the same time, the service must be highly resilient to outages. The service also needs to be secure from theft and intrusion. Some large enterprises will insist that their traffic is logically, if not physically, separated from other user’s traffic. Encryption needs to be provided at the transport layer, which is safe from harvest now, and decrypt later attack in the presence of a practical quantum computer. 

Opportunity for service providers: retail or wholesale

These elements form simple requirements that a service provider needs to meet to enjoy a sizable market share in providing differentiated services to various enterprise customers. For the typical communication service provider (CSP), the question becomes: should they operate as a retail provider or partner with another provider as a wholesale provider? 

For reasons from regulation to the practicalities of customer support, a CSP may decide to set up as a wholesale service provider, working with a retailer to provide last-mile connectivity and customer support for local enterprise markets. This is a very practical solution that can help the CSP capture revenue which otherwise may be lost. Optical transport technology makes this business arrangement very practical to deploy and operate. 

OTN makes it practical

Optical Transport Networking, standardized in ITU-T G.709, provides a set of tools that service providers can deploy to help their wholesale business operate seamlessly. An Optical Transport Network (OTN) is ideally suited to provide an end-to-end solution for various service requirements that demand security, scalability, low latency and high availability. OTN improves network efficiency and utilization and can carry any traffic type including legacy services. The enhancement includes components common to DWDM systems – transponders, optical mux/demux modules, amplifiers – but OTN adds switching and grooming capabilities at layer 1. Multilayer optimization is achieved by using an optimal mix of electrical grooming and photonic transport for increased scalability and flexibility.

OTN incorporates coherent electro-optics to optimize reach and capacity over large metro, regional and long-haul networks as well as to scale solutions in the core. At the network edge, OTN solutions need to be compact, versatile and extend services all the way to customer premise sites to provide carrier-grade service demarcation with end-to-end service assurance. Modern OTN networks provide advanced control plane options for carrier-grade restoration and protection and are managed by advanced network automation and management tools.

In delivering a high-value, SLA-aware solution, OTN offers powerful yet practical tools for premium wholesale and business services with flexibility, security and guaranteed performance. The business services can span from network edge through metro aggregation and core for end-to-end connectivity. OTN delivers efficient aggregation and multiplexing of services that avoids cascading and complexity while supporting any topology mesh with fast service rollout. OTN services are flexible, with client interface and protocol versatility, using any-to-any service connectivity, and SLA-aware provisioning. OTN services are also reliable, with multi-failure restoration, secure through hard traffic isolation within the OTN payload, guaranteed latency and deterministic bandwidth. 

As one example, the use of OTN in a wholesale network allows the operator to slice capacity in any optical line among various user classes, each with its SLA. Traffic slices can be isolated appropriately from each other, using a combination of layer 2 switching for soft isolation and layer 1 OTN for hard isolation within the same optical data unit (ODU). An example of this is shown in figure 1, where various sub-rate services are soft-isolated within ODUFlex 1, while the entire ODUFlex 2 slice is hard-isolated from the rest of the ODU4. This way, the end user performance is ensured as determined by their respective SLAs. 

A service provider who deploys an end-to-end OTN solution is well-positioned to deliver the range of connectivity services demanded by modern enterprises. Whether operating directly with the enterprise, through a retail service provider, or a combination of both routes to market, OTN helps service providers optimize their market share and revenue.

About the author

In his current role with Nokia, Chris Janson follows trends in optical networking technology and their application to finance, healthcare, utilities, government and educational customers. Mr. Janson has been a speaker at many conferences including Interop 2014, Internet2 annual technology meetings, and a 2015 series of executive forums sponsored by CenturyLink and CIO magazine. 

He has also shared his work through many webinars, written publications, on-line videos and articles. Mr. Janson also serves on the boards of directors of the Rural Telecommunications Congress and the non-profit OpenCape Corporation. He holds an MBA from Boston University and Bachelor of Science in engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Huawei and Orange achieve 157 Tbps over 120km fiber link

Huawei and Orange achieved a new world record optical transmission of 157 Tbps over a 120 km fiber on the Orange network in South West France. 

In June 2022, Huawei released the industry's first ultra-broadband Super C + Super L solution able to provide 12 THz of spectrum () over a fiber using C band (C for Conventional wavelengths) and L band (L for long wavelengths). In this testing, the total bandwidth was extended to 18 THz by using in-house technologies for S band (S for short wavelengths) and relying on the transmission expertise of Huawei's French R&D Center. A total number of 240 wavelengths were used to provide a total transmission capacity of 157 Tbit/s, based on Huawei's advanced high-order constellation shaping modulation algorithm.

Gilles Bourdon, Vice President for Wireline Networks & Infrastructure, Orange Innovation, declared: "Facing the continuous increase of traffic demand, obtaining more spectrum and therefore more value from our existing assets is crucial. It is even more important as spectral efficiency of such optical systems reaches a theoretical limit. The testing proves the capability of our fiber infrastructure to offer 50 % more spectrum and thus effectively address one of our key topics: the experience and connectivity of our customers."

Richard Jin, President for the Optical Business Product Line, Huawei, declared: "Huawei has long been committed to strategic investments, research and technological breakthroughs in the optical communications domain, as illustrated by the excellence of our optical research teams, such as the one in Paris. We are delighted to collaborate with an operator as innovative as Orange to contribute, together, to the creation of the network of the future."

Oracle opens cloud region in Chicago

 Oracle opened its 41st global region and fourth in the U.S. in Chicago, Illinois.

The new Chicago region will offer over 100 OCI services and applications, including Oracle Autonomous Database, MySQL HeatWave, OCI Data Science, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, and Oracle Analytics.

Oracle said its new facility has been designed to enable high availability, data residency, and disaster protection. OCI offers layers of security to help ensure resources are provisioned securely for every customer, a zero trust architecture for maximum isolation of customer tenancies, and many integrated customer security services that are offered at no extra charge.

In addition, the Oracle Cloud Chicago Region is designed to help meet the security and compliance needs of customers in both the commercial and public sectors. OCI’s architecture is designed to allow cloud regions to be deployed within separate secure and isolated realms for different uses. The Chicago area is the location of an existing Oracle Cloud Region with DISA Impact Level 5 authorization for use by U.S. government organizations to store and process Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and National Security Systems (NSS) information. Oracle currently operates several independent realms serving the U.S. and U.K. governments, and Oracle has announced that it plans to offer a sovereign cloud realm for the European Union in 2023.

“As the home to more than 20 percent of the Fortune 500, 60 percent of all U.S. manufacturing, and the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange, the U.S. Midwest is a global innovation hub across key industries,” said Clay Magouyrk, Executive Vice President, OCI. “These industries are increasingly seeking secure cloud services to support their need for high-speed data transfer at ultra-low latency. We are excited to open the new Chicago region to help our Midwest customers and partners easily and securely move their mission-critical workloads to the cloud.”

The company also noted its extensive network of more than 75 global and regional OCI FastConnect partners. CoreSite and Digital Realty are the host partners for the new Oracle Cloud Chicago Region’s FastConnect locations. Partners available at launch for the Oracle Cloud Chicago Region include Megaport, Equinix, CoreSite, and Digital Realty.

Currently available Oracle Cloud Regions:

  • Asia Pacific: Tokyo (Japan), Osaka (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Chuncheon (South Korea), Mumbai (India), Hyderabad (India), Sydney (Australia), Melbourne (Australia), Singapore (Singapore)
  • Americas: San Jose (United States), Phoenix (United States), Ashburn (United States), Chicago (United States), Toronto (Canada), Montreal (Canada), São Paolo (Brazil), Vinhedo (Brazil), Santiago (Chile), Querétaro (Mexico)
  • Europe: Frankfurt (Germany), London (United Kingdom), Newport, Wales (United Kingdom), Zürich (Switzerland), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Marseille (France), Stockholm (Sweden), Milan (Italy), La Courneuve, Paris (France), Madrid (Spain)
  • Middle East: Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi and Dubai (U.A.E), Jerusalem (Israel)
  • Africa: Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • Government: Two general U.S. Government regions, three U.S. Department of Defense specific Government regions, several U.S. National Security regions, and two United Kingdom Government regions (London and Newport, Wales)

BT trials C-RAN in Leeds

BT announced a trial of cloud RAN technology in Leeds.

The pilot scheme led by BT Wholesale, part of the company’s Enterprise unit, will enhance coverage and connectivity for those visiting, working or living in Leeds and serve as a proof of concept for future developments.The project has seen the first units installed at key locations in Leeds city centre and will allow BT to track how the infrastructure improves access in the area. The infrastructure is currently being used by the EE and Three networks for the trial.

C-RAN technology uses specialist software which has the potential to be used in smaller, more compact units including existing street furniture.  

Alex Tempest, Managing Director, BT Wholesale, said: “The introduction of this new technology highlights BT’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions that benefit residents, businesses, and visitors, whilst also supporting economic growth across Leeds and the wider UK.

EE deploys Ericsson’s Massive MIMO radios at key UK sites

EE, part of the BT Group, has begun deployment of Ericsson’s ultra-lightweight radios  to deliver improved 5G energy efficiency and network performance across the UK.EE’s first deployments of the equipment are in London, with sites in Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, and Belfast to follow this year. The improved technology will be expanded to more urban and suburban areas in the future, where Ericsson is a key partner for EE. Operating within EE’s...

BT to combine Enterprise and Global units to create BT Business

 BT Group  will be combining its Global and Enterprise units into a single B2B unit, BT Business. The combined business unit would have generated FY22 pro-forma revenues of approximately £8.5 billion and EBITDA of over £2 billion, and it is expected to deliver at least £100m of gross annualised savings by the end of FY25. 

BT Business will be led by Bas Burger the current CEO of BT’s Global unit. Bas joined BT Group in 2008 and prior to the Global role was responsible for BT Americas. Before joining BT Group, Bas was executive president and a member of the management committee of Getronics NV, where he ran global sales, channels and partnerships, developing the company’s international business. He was also CEO and managing director of KPN Entercom Solutions.

BT said the reorganistion will create a simpler corporate structure with three customer facing units: Consumer supporting UK consumers; BT Business supporting business and public sector customers; and Openreach delivering UK nationwide fixed access infrastructure. 

BT Group Chief Executive Philip Jansen said:

“BT Group is a leading provider of B2B connectivity and related services to UK and multinational corporations, government and public sector organisations worldwide, as well as UK SMEs1 and SoHos2. BT Enterprise is the market leader in the UK, with a market share of 30% underpinned by BT Group’s fixed and mobile network leadership, the strength of the BT brand, and national sales, service and distribution. BT Global serves many of the world’s largest companies and is consistently rated as a leader for its networking and security services and has ambition to be the leading provider of secure multi-cloud connectivity.”

“By combining the two units, BT Business will bring the Group’s combined assets, products, capabilities and brand to the service of all of our 1.2m business customers who will benefit  from faster innovation and delivery. Bas is an excellent leader and I’m confident he will build on the plans already underway and drive the combined business back to growth.”

“Throughout the past two very challenging years, Bas and Rob have provided outstanding leadership. Covid accelerated a shift in the market as people and businesses changed the way they worked, whilst macro-economic factors have disrupted supply chains and put pressure on businesses and the public sector globally. Despite this, we’ve made progress and our customer satisfaction scores have improved, in some cases to an all time high. I am grateful to Bas and Rob for laying the foundations that enable us to take this next step in BT Group’s transformation.”

euNetworks appoints Stephanie Lynch-Habib to President

euNetworks announced the appointment of Stephanie Lynch-Habib as President.

Stephanie joins euNetworks following more than 25 years working in the telecom and technology industry. Most recently she was Chief Revenue Officer at InterCloud in Paris, responsible for driving growth opportunities for the business. Before joining InterCloud Stephanie led the global marketing and communications strategy of the GSMA, the global organisation representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries. She has also held the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Colt, responsible for marketing strategy and prior to that, spent 16 years with AT&T EMEA, holding numerous senior marketing, sales, and strategy roles. While at AT&T, Stephanie was a founder of the AT&T European Women's Network.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Stephanie to euNetworks,” said Paula Cogan. “She’s a great addition to the team and fills a critical position in the business. I am excited for the contributions that Stephanie will make to euNetworks as I move to take up the role of Chief Executive Officer of euNetworks in January. Along with Stephanie’s global leadership experience, her advocacy, and efforts for strong women representation in the telecom sector is commendable and we welcome her contribution to euNetworks’ diversity and inclusion focus as well as in the wider industry.”

euNetworks appoints Paula Cogan as CEO, Brady Rafuse as Chair

euNetworks announced the appointment of Paula Cogan as its Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 January 2023. Paula currently holds the position of President, euNetworks. Paula will succeed CEO Brady Rafuse, who will become Chairman of euNetworks’ Board of Directors, with the existing Chairman Neil Hobbs remaining on the Board of Directors as a Non Executive Director.Cogan previously held various senior leadership positions in companies such as British...

Starlink hits 1 million subscribers

SpaceX confirmed that its Starlink service now has more than 1,000,000 active subscribers.

In the United States, Starlink is priced at $110/month with a one-time hardware cost of $599.

WATCH: Elon Musk expects Starlink to hit 500,000 subscribers in a year

"Think of Starlink as filling the gaps between 5G and fiber connectivity... reaching 3-5% where connectivity is limited" stated Elon Musk in a virtual keynote for MWC Barcelona.Some highlights1,500 Starlink satellites are currently in serviceover 5MW of combined power from the solar arrays on each satelliteThe Starlink constellation is currently carrying 30 Tbps of dataBy August, there will be global coverage except for the polesCurrently offering...

ZenFi adds to management team

ZenFi Networks (ZenFi), which was recently acquired by BAI Communications, announced the promotions of Patrick O’Hare to Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Robert Sokota to President of Link Solutions. 

Patrick ‘Pat’ O’Hare will take over Vincenzo ‘Enzo’ Clemente’s former role as President and COO of ZenFi Networks. Enzo stepped down from his role upon the company’s recent acquisition by BAI. O'Hare is a key founding member of ZenFi’s management team. 

Robert Sokota has also been a pivotal member of the ZenFi Networks management team since 2014 after leading Cross River Fiber’s merger with ZenFi. He has served as the company’s Chief Administrative Officer, and, since June of 2021, Sokota served as the President of CityBridge’s Wireless Division, where he played a key role in developing the company’s partnership with LinkNYC and the Link5G project. In his new role as President of Link Solutions, Sokota will lead the expansion of the Link5G project and its powerful multi-tenant wireless solutions throughout New York City and beyond to new markets. He will also continue to spearhead partnerships with CityBridge, Intersection, and others.

BAI Comm acquires ZenFi for NYC metro fiber/edge infrastructure

BAI Communications (BAI), which specializes in shared communications infrastructure, completed its acquisition of ZenFi Networks (ZenFi), a US East coast-based provider of digital infrastructure solutions and innovator in small cell deployment, offload & roaming services, fibre connectivity, and network edge colocation. BAI Group companies include Mobilitie, Signal Point, Transit Wireless and ZenFi Networks in the United States, and Vilicom...