There is a relentless push-pull from rapid business and technology change affecting operators today. On one hand, dramatic growth in subscriber demands are driving fronthaul and backhaul traffic and putting networks under intense pressure. While on the other, there’s an industry wide race to develop and commercialize new revenue-generating services, such as IoT use cases and 5G mobile services – and to implement the network technologies and architectures needed to support and deliver them. On top of that, new market entrants, including some of the largest internet companies, are deploying massive-scale network connections that support low-cost data transport between key locations and data centers with unrivalled economies of scale.

The challenges for operators are; how to take exponential traffic growth in stride; how to prepare the network for the next-generation of IoT and 5G use cases; and how to remain competitive on price with large connectivity providers in the market.

Here are four key ways an Adaptive Network can help:

1) Increasing network agility and efficiency – because the Adaptive Network turns the network into a dynamic, programmable infrastructure built on analytics and automation, it helps meet growing bandwidth needs with on-demand scalability. As well as helping operators to handle incremental traffic growth and unpredictable demand peaks, an Adaptive Network supports real-time scaling and resource-allocation to support differentiated QoS for different applications and use cases, paving the way for commercial 5G services.

The agility of an Adaptive Network also helps operators to maximize efficiency by automating a wide range of manual networking processes, from routine service provisioning and turn-up, to resource discovery and traffic routing over the best available components and paths. In this way, it helps operators compete effectively with even the largest connectivity providers.

2) Future-proofing the network with industry leading packet-optical solutions - Ciena has created the industry’s most scalable portfolio of programmable, packet-optical network infrastructure to help operators meet massively growing bandwidth demand up to the edge.  Our packet-optical solutions cover the metro edge, between data centres, the backbone core, and submarine. This packet-optical market leadership, enabled by consistently high R&D investment, is based on our deployed 100G, 200G, and 400G capable in-house modem technology, supported by a unique combination of software intelligence to bring the best of optical innovation to the market.  

Our leading technology portfolio also supports seamless convergence of voice and data traffic for mobile operators. This will allow operators to integrate 4G and 5G traffic in the future, and to deliver it extremely cost effectively across a unified infrastructure.

By ensuring that the network can keep pace with exponential increases in bandwidth demands and new services requirements (low latency, high availability) our packet-optical portfolio protects our clients’ business for the long-term.

3) Helping avoid vendor lock-in with open networking - Many network providers design their portfolios to work together, however, infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex, needing to integrate components and processes in multi-vendor environments. This approach requires large-scale “lift-and-shift” infrastructure upgrades which are costly and disruptive, as well as reducing ROI on existing network equipment.

To maximize cost efficiency and value for our clients, Ciena’s portfolio of hardware and software are designed on the principle of openness. This allows operators to tie an entire network infrastructure together into a single environment that delivers value for the business and end-customers long-term.

As well as integrating all equipment – both legacy and new – Ciena can help monitor and manage multi-vendor networks with a centralized, integrated set of tools. This capability is delivered by Ciena’s Blue Planet software suite and our Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) software, which gives full visibility of resources and services across multi-vendor domains, with tools to troubleshoot and manage diverse infrastructure components remotely.

4) Driving network innovation in strategic partnership - Finally, but equally importantly, Ciena is a strategic partner for global operators. Based on our financial and operational stability, we are able to commit to continual innovation of our portfolio, ensuring that our clients can embrace emerging opportunities and take future network challenges in our stride.

One example of how we are investing for the future is our recent acquisition of Packet Design, with network performance management software that is focused on Layer 3 network optimization, topology and route analytics. By integrating Packet Design into Blue Planet, we will be able to extend our intelligent orchestration and automation capabilities from layer 0, 1 and 2 into the IP layer. As a result, our clients will be able to further optimize service delivery and maximize resource utilization – taking the Adaptive Network to the next level.