I’m going to make a prediction about you: You like Oreo® cookies. It’s a safe prediction given that Oreo makes the best-selling cookies on the planet.

Sometimes you want that great Oreo taste but you want to consume it in a different way. Maybe it’s a hot day and you’re at the beach, and ice cream sounds better than a cookie. Luckily, the people at Oreo have you covered: you can go for the Klondike® Oreo Ice Cream Bar, get a scoop of Breyer’s Blast!® Oreo, or wander over to the Golden Arches for an Oreo Cookie McFlurry®. Klondike bars, Breyer’s ice cream, and McDonald®’s McFlurries are great on their own, but they get even better with a little bit of Oreo cookie inside.

Which brings me … in the strangest segue you’ll read all day … to optical networks and a really significant announcement today from Ciena.

Ciena is consistently rated as the leading vendor in optical networking. This year’s IHS Markit annual optical equipment vendor leadership survey scored us #1 across multiple categories, from Data Center Interconnect to Packet Optical to Transport SDN. We were tops overall as well. We’re honored by this recognition and we know that it’s in part because of an amazing ingredient in our optical systems: our WaveLogic coherent optical processors. Ciena was the first to commercialize DSP-based coherent optical processing way back in 2008. And, while numerous other vendors have followed our technological lead, we still have the best-performing, most advanced processors on the market, and intend to keep it that way.

Ciena was the first to commercialize DSP-based coherent optical processing way back in 2008. And, while numerous other vendors have followed our technological lead, we still have the best-performing, most advanced processors on the market, and intend to keep it that way.

Oreos (and coherent processors) for everyone

Until now, though, the only way to take advantage of our market-leading WaveLogic technology has been to buy a Ciena system – a 6500, Waveserver, 8700, or 5400. We’ve built a great business with this approach, and we plan to continue to be a leader in this market. In fact, we currently supply about one-fifth of the world’s optical links, and we’d like to see Ciena technology in the other 80% of wavelengths around the world. So, like Oreo, we wanted to make it even easier to consume our coherent technology for new applications (and, in Ciena’s case, geographies) that we don’t serve today.

So today, Ciena is creating greater choice in the market by offering a compelling alternative to “merchant” modems. We announced that we’ve signed new agreements with three of the best-known and most respected optical component vendors in the world: Lumentum, NeoPhotonics and Oclaro

Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai will be combined with various electro-optics to build coherent optical modules, which our partners will then manufacture and sell to their global customers – primarily optical systems vendors not vertically integrated in their supply chains. These modules will be targeted at applications ranging from metro to long-haul to submarine, which are defined by performance capabilities such as capacity, power and reach, where their customers can get an even better experience with Ciena technology inside.

Accelerating 400G to the market

The four companies have also agreed to collaborate on a second application: a new spec for 400G pluggable modules aimed at the data center interconnect (DCI) market. This will give Internet Content Providers (ICPs) and other web-scale players building DCI networks the comfort of multiple sources for 400G pluggable modules as well as greater interoperability, together working to help reduce network costs and simplify operations.

Ciena has long been a proponent of providing choice as a way to serve the diverse preferences of organizations building networks today, much like Oreo has given the world countless ways to enjoy that great Oreo flavor. With today’s announcement, we’re offering even more ways to consume WaveLogic and bring scalable and flexible bandwidth to those networks around the world we don’t yet serve. But unlike Oreos, we don’t recommend dunking our coherent processors in milk.