The content on networks today and changing consumption models are shifting requirements for the network. In this constantly evolving, on-demand world, the network still needs to scale for massive capacity growth, but also has to be more agile and programmable to better handle unpredictable traffic requirements associated with cloud connectivity and the proliferation of mobile devices.

Until now, optical networks have been built to run in a static mode of operation, where changes in connectivity patterns and new capacity requests translate to new hardware along with lengthy manual wavelength planning and deployment cycles.

Liquid Spectrum changes the way optical networks are engineered, operated, and monetized. At its core, Liquid Spectrum is about mining and using available system margin, which is a changing, or ‘liquid,’ variable over the life of the network, to gain optical capacity on-demand, improved reach for a specific channel, or increased service availability. It is a solution that combines highly instrumented, programmable hardware with advanced software applications to help operators extract the most value from their network, massively scale at lowest cost per bit, and fully monetize their network resources. The implementation uses APIs and standard interfaces to support customers’ requirements for an accessible, open architecture.

Ciena’s Liquid Spectrum solution

Liquid Spectrum combines variable bit-rate coherent optics, a flexible grid reconfigurable photonic layer, and advanced SDN software applications in an open architecture.

Liquid Spectrum is the cumulative value of a series of next-generation optical and software technologies. Elements include:

  • WaveLogic Ai coherent optics that enable tunable capacity, from 100G to 400G, in 50G increments
  • WaveLogic Photonics, a reconfigurable, flexible grid photonic layer that enables dynamic re-routing of wavelengths across the network 
  • Efficient matching of client services to line capacity via flexible platform architectures, such as those found in our 6500 and Waveserver platforms
  • Blue Planet MCP for unified service and network management, resource control, and planning through a single interface
  • New Liquid Spectrum software applications that allow operators to get more value from their network. Initial rollout of applications includes:
    • Performance Meter, which provides real-time visibility into network performance that allows for proactive system optimization
    • Bandwidth Optimizer, which simplifies and accelerates wavelength turn-up through real-time monitoring and automation
    • Liquid Restoration, which provides increased service availability
    • Wave-Line Synchronizer, which automates service provisioning in multi-vendor networks   
  • Open APIs and modern data models at both hardware and software layers to allow for better real-time network telemetry and measurement

Liquid Spectrum is designed with an open and disaggregated SW architecture to allow customers to reap the benefits of the solution across the spectrum of technology consumption models, from fully integrated solutions to largely disaggregated configurations where customers can select the functions from Ciena they most value.

Liquid Spectrum delivers the following benefits:

  • Service agility through a fully programmable and instrumented infrastructure
  • Operational simplicity through sophisticated applications that abstract complexity associated with advanced flexible technologies
  • Choice in architecture implementation through open APIs and a building block approach

Liquid Spectrum provides a blueprint for a software-defined architecture that is more agile, dynamic, software-driven, and open, to more efficiently tackle the networking challenges of the new on-demand world.