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Big Need for MPLS-TP?

August, 2014

At the service providers across the globe, the most widespread and native selection is MPLS and not MPLS-TP. The former has broader acceptance, superior interoperability, and operational intimacy for the engineering folks. In Asia, particularly China, MPLS-TP has taken off in a big way. While some industry observers view that part of the world as exceptionally unpredictable and may suggest that “TP” could even be replaced, it seems that at least one of the large Chinese operators has such a critical mass of deployment that such a move is not imaginable. On its face, one would think customers should want to go with MPLS-TP over MPLS because the former is a newer version. Ordinarily, any supplier that would happen to start product development from scratch would definitely be inclined to begin in the “TP” direction. Theoretically,...

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ROADMs Instead of Metro 100G Systems?

March, 2015

At the OFC 2015 conference, one of the most highly respected network engineers in the business from Xtera Communications will be legitimately asking the question on a panel, “What on Earth is a ‘100G Metro System?’” Bill Szeto will be asserting that because 100G currently means a whole wavelength, there is nothing wrong serving the needs with just taking a 100-gig channel off of a ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer). In doing so, it would also take care of the potential problems with stranded capacity that would occur in mesh networks as we outlined in a previous blog article. Bill will also argue that a so-called 100G metro system would provide no...

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To Infinera: Let Transmode Run as Freely as Possible

June, 2015

Infinera would be better off allowing Transmode Systems to operate as an independent division than to integrate it much into its own corporation. Despite all of the assertions to the contrary, their cultures could not be more unalike – the former, a high-profile, Silicon Valley-type of company with people consistently logging long hours, oftentimes grappling with very quick deadlines – the latter, a Swedish, low-key, usually pragmatic kind of firm with historically fixed, lengthy timeframes for R&D completion, with a strong belief in the necessity for taking long vacations to recharge one's batteries as well as to help maintain a relaxed demeanor in its development work. The biggest difference is that Transmode has been going after the sweet spot of the metro DWDM market – targeting the Tier II and below types of service providers and other customers in which there has not has...

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BT Victim of Revisionist “All-IP” History

July, 2015

With neighboring service providers, Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Orange recently announcing aggressive schedules to migrate their networks completely to the Internet Protocol (IP), British Telecom has become the poster child of supposed laggards regarding moving away from the (Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Indeed, the current characterization of BT was self-inflicted as no other service provider last decade came close to the promotional effort of its CN21. Yet, despite presently being described in the press as a leader in the transition to a network that aims to be 100% IP by the end of 2018, DT back in 2006 talked about its NGN plan to eliminate all of its circuit switches no later than 2012. Five other examples of off-the-mark predictions made by operators include: 1) It took until 2008 before NTT decided to correct the record on a widespread misunderstanding...

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Optical Line Interoperability Illusion

October, 2015

Although Microsoft and others have been discussing the notion of an Open Line System (OLS) to provide standardization with long-haul and metro equipment, there is little precedent for such grand notions ever coming close to being real with any technologies in the past. Naturally, large service providers are always inclined to ask for everything under the sun, including compatibility between vendors to potentially reduce their operational costs. (In responding to an RFI or RFP from the three largest incumbent carriers in the US, if a supplier does not at least say it has a plan to accommodate absolutely every request, it will immediately be eliminated from consideration.). However, despite countless successful interoperability tests that have been performed over the years, optical vendors, especially the biggest ones, at the end of the day, usually have absolutely no desire to enable...

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