Taking a cue from IT's separation of hardware, operating systems and applications software and, more recently, the separation of compute, storage and networking in data centers, the trend toward disaggregation and open optical networking is starting to impact the broader communications equipment market.
In the second report of our three-piece series -- "Open Line Systems Gather Momentum" -- we analyze how approaches to optical networking based on disaggregation and software-defined networking control are set to dominate -- and the key questions that still remain.
This impact is already being felt with the shift to SDN, disaggregating the control plane from the forwarding plane, and the shift to network functions virtualization (NFV), disaggregating network hardware from software functions.
In terms of WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing) transport, disaggregation arrives in the form of open line systems (OLS). However, traditional integrated approaches also have advantages and many operators want to migrate to multivendor OLS at their own pace. Some are embracing and deploying OLS today but many remain unconvinced of its benefits and are waiting to see more deployment proof points and mature solutions. This does not mean they are in different camps so much as different stages of evaluation and adoption.
In fact, integration and disaggregation are not mutually exclusive. With both, the goal is to reduce cost, footprint and power consumption with tight integration, leveraging technologies such as photonic integration for electronics. The grouping of functions and the pace of adoption will depend on factors such as innovation, depreciation and renewal cycles, as well as capacity and scalability requirements.
In short, open optical networking is an emerging frontier but operator strategies require balance. There is no single sweet spot that suits all operators; there are, however, sweet spots that benefit some operators to move to OLS today. The global trend is towards OLS separated from transponders with open APIs.
— Adrian Pennington is a journalist and editor specializing in the creation, business and technology of moving image media. Published in The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Hollywood Reporter he also copywrites a range of marketing materials for brands and marketing agencies. Follow Adrian on Twitter at @pennington1; on LinkedIn at
Missed the first report of the series?
"To 400G and beyond" explores the arrival of the 400G era which empowers network operators to squeeze yet more bits from their network assets. The report dives into the state of the next-generation optical networking market as technologies and deployments ramp up from 100 Gbit/s to 400 Gbit/s and beyond. Get your free copy today.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.