Teach your OTN some new packet tricks
The explosive growth in data traffic supported by today’s provider networks has translated into an OTN (Optical Transport Network) equipment market that will reach $14B around 2021 (IHS: DCI, Packet-Optical, and OTN Equipment Biannual Market Tracker: Regional, H2 2016). The service provider community has recognized the value of OTN for its resilience to disruptions, scalability in support of high-bandwidth services, natural fit in the markets formerly served by SONET/SDH, and its ability to transport any service anywhere. Hundreds of thousands of these converged packet/optical nodes have been deployed worldwide.
And the OTN journey is not over by any stretch. Did you know that you can add packet services like Ethernet to an existing OTN infrastructure? In fact, smart operators are finding the value of combining the dual attributes of packets and P-OTS to gain new revenue. We have recently engaged with several large operators who are just realizing the value of the OTN network they have installed to support packet services. Why do these play together so well? Let’s dig into the details.
Packet services ranging from 10Mb/s to 100Gb/s are easily mapped into OTN frames for transport across long distances, between metros, and countries. OTN’s protection mechanisms provide a robust way of guaranteeing low-switchover times in the event of failure (even multiple failures).
Maybe you’re a hobbyist like me. Maybe you are into photography, or work on your car in the garage on weekends. Imagine discovering your camera or car has a feature you never knew about. After all, no one reads the manual. Maybe you never knew your camera could do that fancy high-dynamic range with that exposure bracketing setting buried under some menu you never saw. Or that your car’s onboard diagnostics port could talk to your phone via a Bluetooth link to tell you all sorts of performance parameters you can now tweak. When it hits you, a whole new world of creative opens up before you.
Integrated Packet OTN: A Golden Opportunity
For a service provider, to discover that the OTN “pipes” he already offers are an ideal complement to packet services – both as a means for transporting packet services, but also being offered alongside them – is a real goldmine. Packet services ranging from 10Mb/s to 100Gb/s are easily mapped into OTN frames for transport across long distances, between metros, and countries. OTN’s protection mechanisms provide a robust way of guaranteeing low-switchover times in the event of failure (even multiple failures).
For their part, packet services can be oversubscribed (or not) and service aggregation at the packet level can fill those OTN pipes efficiently and flexibly. Variable bandwidth services come into play and automation of service turn-up and test become options.
There is increasing concern that “selling pipes” is becoming a commodity business, with a race to the bottom of the price of such services. Adding the ability to define services that are deterministic yet flexible, and can be combined with any number of value added features (like OAM), makes for a powerful and “sticky” solution end-users appreciate and are willing to pay for.
A broad menu offering of such services is what converged packet-optical platforms like Ciena’s 6500 offer. With thousands upon thousands of these in the field today, it’s nice to know this existing infrastructure is capable of some new tricks.
Want to learn more? Watch the live discussion I recently hosted on the topic of packetizing your OTN network. Together let’s discover the gold in your OTN network. No manual reading required, we’ve got this one covered.