Why are operators squeezing more and more out of submarine networks?

Well over 95 percent of the world’s intercontinental electronic communications traffic travels over submarine networks. That’s a lot of data. And the growth of data traffic shows no sign of slowing anytime soon, so operators are looking across all their network assets, subsea included, to gain competitive advantage. Until recently, operators thought of their submarine networks as distinct from terrestrial networks. They ran on distinct technologies, had different business rationales, and were isolated from the other assets operators used to run their business. As a result, terrestrial networks benefited from advances while subsea networks lagged, even though they provided such critical service for so much of the world’s data.

That’s all history now. With innovative technological approaches in play, submarine networking has undergone a couple of evolutions. The changes include the rapid adoption of coherent detection modems, which were originally developed for terrestrial networks. These modems enable submarine networks to add step increases in capacity to transoceanic corridors. ROADMs, also originally designed for terrestrial networks, greatly simplify and reduce the costs of end-to-end networking. With the addition of terrestrial technology, providers can extend the life of their wet plant assets, open them to best-in-breed upgrade vendors, and radically change legacy business models.

With the growing ubiquity of coherent technology, land, sea, and cloud-based networks have been united into a seamless end-to-end entity. As a result, submarine networks can now maximize the efficiency of optical spectrum to keep up with demand for bandwidth. With this new technology at their disposal, operators can better monetize of their undersea network assets. In addition, network availability can be guaranteed via software intelligence and automation built into mesh network technology to proactively and reactively address inevitable network faults. And for operators in an increasingly competitive world, the most important aspect of coherent technology is that it grows revenues and protects margins with network designs optimized to reduce the total cost of end-to-end network ownership.

Instead of compromising and making do with the limited set of technologies available for submarine assets, submarine cable operators can now use the same terrestrial building blocks to build customized end-to-end networks. This freedom gives rise to the openness movement in submarine networking. Terrestrial networking has been open for some time now, even as submarine networks were in the grip of proprietary technologies. That’s changing, as the submarine network industry transforms from a static and conservative market into a dramatically different environment that upends traditional methods for modeling, designing, deploying, and managing subsea networks. 

With an arsenal of best-in-breed technologies at their disposal from a wide array of technology vendors, operators can hone operations, speed up service innovation, accelerate time to market, and meet the demands of web-scale content players that consume a large and growing share of transoceanic bandwidth growth. 

Why Ciena?

Ciena triggered the massive upheaval in submarine network architecture with GeoMesh just a few years ago. This revolutionary architecture blurred the lines between submarine and terrestrial networks by viewing them as seamless, end-to-end service paths. With the addition of a significant number of new features, technologies, and services, GeoMesh Extreme, built on cloud-based software innovation, takes that network approach to the next level.

GeoMesh Extreme has four building blocks:

  • Switching: 5430 Packet-Optical Platform, 6500 Family, 8700 Packetwave® Platform, and OneConnect Intelligent Control Plane
  • Services: Cloud-based SLA Portal, PinPoint C-OTDR (Coherent Optical Time Domain Reflectometer), Ciena’s Managed NOC, Network Health, Topology Discovery, and Alarm Correlation

With the best hardware, software, and professional services, subsea cable operators can scale their information-carrying capabilities, protect multiple terabits of traffic from inevitable cable faults, and lower the total cost of network ownership to protect revenues and margins. 

Ciena understands the unique qualities of submarine cables. They’re built with distance and capacity in mind. So Ciena designed GeoMesh Extreme to give operators the ability to construct purpose-built submarine networks with only the building blocks they need to handle specific market requirements. 

Every service provider will benefit from the tools they’ll gain with GeoMesh Extreme. You’ll be able to optimize and monetize assets by designing a purpose-built network from end-to-end, overland and undersea. You’ll keep up with voracious global bandwidth growth, protect multiple terabits of traffic, avoid outages from inevitable faults, and protect your revenues and margins by combating ongoing price erosion.