Automation  itself, and the idea that technologies could be self-provisioning,  self-diagnosing, and self-healing, has been around for some time. But with  advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud technologies, such fanciful  notions are quickly becoming realities.

Nowadays, most  of us use AI-enabled apps when we ask Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa for help  with a task. And even streaming services like Netflix help us pick movies and  TV shows using AI.

In the world  of terrestrial and submarine networks, AI and the elements that make up the  cloud are converging to enable the next level of networking.

Those elements  include:

  • Virtually  boundless compute resources: Modern CPUs can be clustered to offer massive,  almost unlimited parallel processing power.
  • Essentially  unlimited storage: Storing a single, massive set of data across multiple  processing platforms—within the same data center or across numerous physically  separated data centers—is not only feasible, it’s now common.
  • Dynamic connections: Agile, on-demand bandwidth—provisioned with the precise connection needed  depending on the type of data in transit—is a critical component of an autonomous  network.
  • Open source  software: Open source solutions like Hadoop are at the center of AI transforming  networks.
  • Big data: For an autonomous network, the gathering and analysis of data from network  sensors leads to better detection of patterns and anomalies.
  • Sensors: Embedded sensors, and the data they produce, form the foundation of an autonomous  network infrastructure

Ciena has been  on the leading edge of the development for autonomous networking, releasing the  first virtual control plane in 2008. But, even though it’s a significant  advance, Ciena sees autonomous networking as too restrictive and too rigid. Our  customers have been telling us for years that they need to maintain strict  control of their network and that automation alone is not enough.

So Ciena has started  to champion a broader, more holistic concept: the Adaptive Network, which is  geared toward providing a network that can grow and adapt with a company as its  business needs and markets change.

An autonomous network runs with minimal to no human intervention—able to configure, monitor, and maintain itself independently.

The Adaptive  Network includes three important layers:

  • Programmable  infrastructure: This includes the network’s physical and virtual elements, as  well as the telemetry gathered from them.
  • Analytics and intelligence: The programmable infrastructure produces significant  amounts of data. Some of it is big data that indicate  trends the network learns and adjusts to over time. Big data can inform the network  how to adjust in the long term, which traffic patterns to look out for, and  which parts of the network could be vulnerable.
  • Software control and automation: Effective automation of network tasks as defined by the  network provider, such as loading access controllers and provisioning routers,  can eliminate human error and keep the  network running at peak performance.

Why Ciena?
Ciena’s  unmatched product portfolio supports the Adaptive Network in a number of important ways. Critical components  include:

  • WaveLogic  Ai: The next generation of Ciena’s industry-leading WaveLogic coherent  technology fundamentally changes how optical networks are built and managed.  WaveLogic Ai enables tunable capacity, from 100G to 400G, in 50G  increments—giving you previously unattainable control over your network.
  • WaveLogic  Photonics: Ciena’s fully instrumented, intelligent  photonic system includes WaveLogic coherent optics and flexible line  elements that, combined with embedded and discrete software tools, offer  superior automation, control, and visibility of optical networks.
  • Ciena’s  optical and packet platforms: Ciena has an array of converged optical and  packet platforms built on flexible platform architectures that are  indispensable in the autonomous network and provide efficient matching of  client services to line capacity.
  • Blue  Planet Analytics (BPA): BPA is a core element of the Blue Planet  intelligent automation platform. It normalizes real-time and historical data  collected from multiple sources across the network and also seamlessly  integrates with third-party big data cluster systems.
  • Blue  Planet Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller: Ciena brings the  power of software-defined programmability to your next-gen Ciena network and  service operations. MCP eliminates the manual, time-consuming, error-prone  steps between multiple, separate management tools and provides the Blue Planet  foundation from which you can evolve your operations to drive closed-loop  intelligent automation across multi-vendor multi-domains.

Ciena’s 25  years of experience connecting the world makes it the perfect partner to  deliver the Adaptive Network.

  • Unmatched  network experience: With more than 1,300 customers worldwide, Ciena  supports 80 percent of the world’s largest network providers. Ciena has  deployed over 160 million kilometers of coherent optical networks.
  • Network  provider services: Ciena has designed services specifically to help providers  evolve their networks. Ciena’s approach supports the complete network  lifecycle, with consulting, solution practices, and services oriented around  the needs of providers.
  • Partners: Ciena augments its value with a vibrant partner program that evolves and  develops offerings and expertise to enable all aspects of the Adaptive Network.
  • Open  APIs and modern data models: At  both the hardware and software layers, Ciena enables better real-time network  telemetry and measurement using APIs. Ciena’s APIs provide faster, easier, and  multi-platform/multi-vendor application development, easy integration with IT  tools, and more efficient IT resource utilization.