By Pravin Mahajan, Director Product and Corporate Marketing
A few months ago, I ordered pizza while watching the FIFA women’s world cup soccer final between USA and Japan. I enjoyed the pizza and the USA victory while my spouse was on the web searching for vacation rentals at Airbnb. Simultaneously, I was receiving emails about a critical situation with one of our subsea customers, which was resolved with a new solution that we were about to announce in few months. All these came together in an “aha” moment – the new on-demand economy is real and transforming businesses.
Let me explain, beginning with the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Recently, one of our subsea customers – Australia Japan Cable (AJC) – experienced a network path failure following a subsea cable fault in 7000 meters to 8000 meters in the Pacific Ocean. The Infinera team and AJC rerouted over 400 gigabit per second (Gb/s) of traffic from the impacted AJC section to alternate paths on the AJC optical fiber ring configuration. The rerouting utilized the capabilities of the Infinera DTN-X platform featuring Infinera’s new on-demand Time-based Instant Bandwidth™ technology. The rerouting of the lost traffic was able to commence within minutes after receipt by AJC of the Time-based Instant Bandwidth license. This avoided a route outage while the cable repair ship was mobilized, transited to the repair site, and implemented in the challenging deep water repair.
Since late 2000, the cloud computing pioneer Amazon Web Services (AWS) was touted as a model for the adoption of on-demand rentable solutions. Infinera introduced the on-demand solution in the network realm in November 2012 with announcement of the Instant Bandwidth solution. Many customers have adopted this capability realizing tremendous value in their networks. Working with them, Infinera continues to extend the solution and Time-based Instant Bandwidth is one such outcome.
It enables the on-demand activation of bandwidth in various increments, including 100 Gb/s, depending on the application for specified durations of time, with the deactivation of the line-side bandwidth at the end of the time period. This is an expansion of the Infinera Instant Bandwidth solution, which allows permanent software activation of line-side bandwidth in various increments. This solution creates on-demand bandwidth using software based licensing without needing any new hardware. Customers can now effectively rent network capacity on their transport infrastructure.
The Instant Bandwidth solution takes advantage of pre-deployed optical network capacity enabled by Infinera’s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) based super-channel technology on the DTN-X platform, part of the Infinera Intelligent Transport Network architecture. Thus operators can deploy slices of capacity over time as they turn on the services. In contrast, competitive solutions use conventional technologies, like discrete optics instead of the PIC, resulting in an operational “penalty”. This is because they require multiple time consuming activities for each additional 100G line card that needs to be deployed such as ordering, shipping, installation and provisioning taking several weeks to fulfill. A potential alternate approach for a competitive solution would be to over-order WDM line-cards for a chassis incurring a significant money “penalty”.
Traditional on-demand delivery options have been limited to local pizza and Chinese takeout. The technology industry is disrupting businesses with the on-demand model resulting in the new rental economy. It is being exemplified by companies such as Airbnb and Zipcar in the consumer space; Amazon, Dropbox and Microsoft in the business segment. Each company is creating and capturing its own blue ocean.
Infinera pioneered the new approach to turn up network capacity with Instant Bandwidth. The recent enhancement with the Time-based offering now allows operators to deploy network capacity for a defined duration, with its trial by fire being deep underneath the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
For more information on Time-based Instant Bandwidth please visit www.infinera.com/go/instant.
by Dave Welch, co-founder and president, Infinera
Today, Infinera completed its offer for the shares of Transmode, a leader in metro packet-optical.
The acquisition of Transmode marks a significant milestone for both our companies and our customers. By bringing together two industry innovators, Infinera now offers an end-to-end product portfolio to address the $15.3 billion global optical networking market* including long-haul, Cloud and metro.
Transmode’s service-rich metro platforms, broad European customer base and shared culture of innovation is an ideal complement to Infinera – a true 1+1=3 scenario. By joining together, we can leverage the strengths of both companies, expand markets and will continue to serve our combined customer base with the passion you have come to expect from us.
As the optical networking market continues the once-in-a-decade transition from 10G to 100G, the metro market is at the beginning of this shift to 100G and I believe that the timing is right for Infinera and Transmode to join forces. I’m excited by the opportunity to combine Transmode’s metro portfolio with the advanced technologies developed by Infinera for the long-haul and Cloud. The expanded portfolio is compatible with our vision of using software defined networks to unleash the power of programmable optical networks.
Infinera now offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for the vast metro aggregation market, including metro core, edge and access, across a diverse set of fast growing applications like mobile fronthaul and backhaul, broadband aggregation and business Ethernet services with Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) certification.
We are excited about the opportunity to deliver our Intelligent Transport Network to our expanded customer base which now includes more than 650 Transmode customers. Similarly, we look forward to offering Transmode’s extensive metro solutions to Infinera’s customers.
A key benefit of the acquisition is the immediate expansion of our skilled resource pool – a team focused on developing innovative Intelligent Transport Networks and providing the Infinera Experience to our customers. As part of this expansion, Karl Thedéen, CEO of Transmode, joins Infinera as the managing director of our Metro Business Group. We welcome Karl and all of the Transmode employees to the Infinera team as we continue to advance the optical networking industry together.
We asked Andrew Schmitt, research director, Carrier Transport Networking at IHS Research what he thought of the deal and here is what he told us:
“The combination of Infinera and Transmode makes sense from both a market and cultural perspective and I am excited to see how the teams will build off of each other’s strengths. This acquisition positions Infinera to capitalize on the growing metro market as it begins a transition to 100G.”
We believe that when our customers succeed, we win. Infinera and Transmode share a culture of customer first, strong technology and product excellence. The scale of the combined company allows for further investments that strengthen our differentiation in the optical networking market. We look forward to working with the team at Transmode to deliver Intelligent Transport Networks that accelerate service innovation and simplify optical network operations.
* Source: Infonetics Q4 2014 Market Forecast for 2019
by Jonathan Hjembo, Senior Analyst at TeleGeography
As a research analyst focused on international networks, I’m often asked some variation of the question, “where do you see new investment opportunities?” While this is an interesting question to consider, it’s also important not to miss the magnitude of growth and scope of opportunity in mature markets. Global communications hubs continue to have an appetite for growth that can only be described as impressive.
Many of the world’s largest hub markets, despite already having enormous network footprints, are outpacing average regional and global capacity growth rates. International Internet bandwidth in Singapore and Hong Kong has increased 50 percent compounded annually over the past five years. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that even some of the most mature U.S. and European markets like San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam are seeing rapid growth, with international Internet bandwidth increasing by at least 35 percent compounded annually over the same time period.
Thankfully for bandwidth customers, prices continue to decline, making it easier to provision more capacity to meet such insatiable demand. Intra-European 10G wavelength prices are among the lowest in the world and continue to fall—by as much as 24 percent compounded annually from 2011-2014 on the major Amsterdam-London and Frankfurt-Paris routes. As new submarine cables come online, trans-Pacific prices are beginning to converge with those on the much cheaper trans-Atlantic route. For example, at the end of 2011, the median price of a 10G wavelength between Hong Kong and Los Angeles was nearly nine times that on the London-New York route. Today that gap has narrowed to 3.5x.
With falling prices and strong demand come opportunities for the adoption of new technology. Network operators have been deploying 100G wavelengths for several years, and as more of them adopt 100G platforms for internal use, the cost of mass-producing related equipment falls, enabling carriers to pass savings on to customers in the form of lower prices for individual 100G wavelengths. In general, wavelength prices fall towards market equilibrium, while innovations in wavelength capacity push the network supply curve out, creating even lower price equilibriums. The deployment of 100G has caused such a shift, and the result is lower unit costs. Today, a 100G wavelength costs five to seven times more than a 10G wave, despite providing 10 times the capacity. What does this mean for customers? It means that those who require large amounts of capacity can experience significant unit cost savings when leasing 100G vs. multiple 10G waves.
One challenge for customers in a world with increasingly favorable bandwidth prices is the question of where to interconnect. On the network side, major communications hubs have some of the most competitive prices in the world. However, when it comes to colocation, costs in these markets can be quite high, having a tendency to remain static at best and to increase at worst. As such, colocation cost can be a challenge when determining overall network strategy. In particularly large and diversified markets like New York and London, prices can vary by as much as $500 per kilowatt from one data center to the next. In such situations, it may be advantageous for some customers to collocate at a cheaper data center and use network assets to pipe into a pricier site for access to key networking partners. Distributed Internet exchange infrastructure can help simplify such a strategy. DE-CIX in Frankfurt, LINX in London, and Equinix in major locations like New York all use dedicated network capacity interconnecting numerous sites throughout a given metro area to create virtual networking environments that nearly simulate colocation in a single building over a wider area.
While carriers, colocation providers, and Internet exchanges can facilitate interconnection within metro markets, they also facilitate tight interconnection across international borders. Shared routes account for a massive proportion of major hubs’ international connectivity. The top international Internet routes for the four largest European markets of Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Paris are shared among these countries, ranging from 2 to 5.6 Tbps of capacity. Other hubs exhibit similarly logical patterns of interdependence, with New York heavily connected to both London and Paris, and the Asian hubs of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo strongly connected to one another. Behind this interconnectivity is a surprisingly small community of major network providers. In the case of the Big Four European markets, just five carriers account for 30 percent or more of all international capacity for each metro.
The display of such robust growth in key global networking markets begs the question, “what is driving demand?” Ultimately, it’s spurred by end users, as more broadband subscribers come online and existing subscribers adopt faster broadband data rates. However, a shift is occurring in the source of demand for long-haul capacity. The Internet, and the carriers that comprise the Internet, have traditionally been the predominant sources of bandwidth demand, but according to TeleGeography estimates, private network capacity growth is far outpacing Internet bandwidth growth globally, with each respectively increasing 66 and 42 percent over the last five years. Content providers such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft account for the majority of private network usage, and their role in global network development is rapidly increasing. In fact, private networks account for a particularly large share of bandwidth usage on key international routes that interconnect data centers. For example, on the trans-Atlantic route, private network bandwidth eclipsed Internet bandwidth for the first time in history last year. Content providers now create the impetus for the largest network development projects, as their capacity requirements exceed those of the biggest carriers.
As is evidenced here, when we look afield for new market opportunities, we cannot neglect the traditional hubs of global networking demand. They remain sources of insatiable growth and, with the increasing influence of powerful content networks, they provide fresh opportunities for investment.
Learn more: Insights Into Global Cloud Evolution.
2015 is the International Year of Light (IYL). I had mused earlier on the significance of the occasion, highlighting the importance of optics throughout history. As the industry continues to push the envelope on photonics, the roots of the new packet-aware transport architecture is taking hold. I believe that this is being driven by the fundamental transition of the network to a simplified model of Layer T (intelligent transport) and Layer C (cloud services). The combination of PICs, merchant packet switching silicon and SDN is poised to disrupt data center interconnect, metro and core backbone networks.
The emergence of high-speed packet awareness within the transport layer has a key role in transforming the optical network from simply being a provider of point-to-point wavelength services, to one that can now provide flexible, intelligent, and differentiated packet transport and aggregation functions. This leads to improved utilization and efficiency of the combined IP and optical network layers.
The approach is a converged transport solution that integrates high-speed L2/L2.5 packet intelligence and QoS at the edge of or within the L0/L1 optical backbone, infusing the transport network with new flexible packet level capabilities. It provides network operators the ability to perform packet functions natively at the transport layer rather than separately in the router layer.
The benefits of this approach include enhanced utilization of 100GbE router ports, flow-based differentiated bandwidth management, increased transport bandwidth efficiency, lower network protection costs and cost-optimized high-speed Carrier Ethernet (CE) services.
For more details on the emergent packet-aware transport, check out the full article that our vice president of Network Strategy, Chris Liou, just wrote for Lightwave.
And for inspiration on breaking new ground, let’s raise a toast to the fastest spacecraft – NASA New Horizons – which recently completed its rendezvous with the dwarf planet of Pluto and its five moons. It’s carrying a special payload – the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. He, thus, happens to be the human whose physical remains have gone furthest from mother Earth. Cheers.
It is interesting to think about the amount of data that is currently being transmitted which is now enabled by Cloud networks. Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.1 One third of all data will soon be stored in the Cloud, as reported by Gartner.2 And, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, by 2018, 59% of the total cloud workloads will be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) workloads, up from 41% in 2013.3
In a world where Cloud services are growing quickly and high capacity connectivity is paramount, networks need to be scalable, simplified and flexible. This topic was top of mind in the presentations and discussions at Transport Networks Russia 2015, a conference focused on the development of telecommunications transport networks in Russia and CIS.
In the wake of an ever-visible shift toward SDN-enabled infrastructures, maximum efficiency and convergence of the network layers seems eminent. Aligned with this thought process, Infinera premiered two new photonic integrated circuits to support the emerging Layer C (Cloud Services) and Layer T (Transport) network model. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) provides a means to migrate network functions related to the upper layers of the network from dedicated appliances to software services on commercial x86 servers within Cloud data centers; leading to the creation of the Cloud services layer or Layer C. In order to support Layer C, Cloud datacenters and end users need to be interconnected by a highly scalable, converged and flexible transport network, or Layer T.
At TransNet Russia, the participants discussed various approaches to build Layer T. All agreed that there’s a continuing need to provide scalability. I believe that the foundation of scale is integrated photonics, which provides more capacity per line card and system while simplifying the network – fewer boxes, fibers and modules, and less space, power and fewer manual processes. Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) are integral to the evolution of the transport network providing significant benefits when integrated into a packet-optical DWDM transport system for an efficient Layer T, ultimately allowing Layer C to thrive.
Service providers in the region have to support the prevailing tough economic conditions and are required to perform against rigorous financial metrics set by shareholders. At the same time they have to stay on top of the competition while consumer demands for capacity and bandwidth skyrocket. As part of Intelligent Transport Network philosophy, Infinera’s goal is to help providers drive expenses down and at the same time keep pace with network growth. Recently Infinera announced two new PICs, ePIC-500 and oPIC-100, to bring the economics of the integrated photonics for the metro.
Regardless of topology (hub-and-spoke, mesh or ring), with the new PICs networks showed an estimated average reduction of 28 percent in modules, 31 percent in power and 45 percent in bandwidth inefficiencies as compared to conventional technologies that deliver 100G, 200G or 400G. Finer granularity enabled by new PICs and tight integration of optical components on the chip results in unmatched flexibility of architectures and significant savings in CapEx and OpEx – something that the Russian operators are keenly focused upon and as exemplified in the key session of “Expansion of Transport Networks” at TransNet 2015.
As Cloud services continue to develop, it is very important that transport networks are scalable yet granular and simple to operate. Sliceable photonics provided by the Infinera ePIC-500 and oPIC-100 are designed to allow operators to lower the costs and complexities of transport while handling enormous traffic growth. As one participant at TransNet 2015 Russia quipped “It was one of the most famous and important conferences for Russian communications companies on the new and complicated stage of market development, and it became intense, relevant and practical”. Infinera is glad to be a part of and lead the Russia market development.
To learn more about Infinera’s sliceable photonics click here.
- Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018
By Geoff Bennett, Director, Solutions and Technology
The show I will always think of as “WDM”, but which now rejoices in the snappy title of “WDM and Next Generation Optical Networking” took place recently in Nice, France.
All the things you’d expect were there – sun drenched Mediterranean beaches, superb French cuisine…and a major taxi driver strike in protest against Uber! It wouldn’t be France without at least one national strike that causes chaos for the conference attendees. Check out this graphic!
Another thing that was no surprise was the focus of the first day of the event – the increasing demands of a Cloud Services Layer (Layer C) driving the need for scalability, flexibility and programmability in the underlying transport network (Layer T). These dynamics are well described in the Day One Sessions in which I took part.
We heard from Andrew Schmitt of IHS on the growth of capacity in agreement with his predictions of the Long Haul Optical Reboot, and that this trend towards 100G is already taking off in the metro.
Amongst the other presentations in the morning we heard how BT and TeliaSonera International Carrier have been taking advantage of coherent technologies to increase fiber capacity.
In particular, Kevin Smith of BT outlined three axes of capacity scaling – the first axis is increasing the Baud rate of individual wavelengths, although this is an axis that is severely limited by the performance of today’s opto-electronics. The second axis is increasing the number of bits carried by each symbol, in other words the move to higher order modulation such as 8QAM and 16QAM. We have several blogs (The 8QAM Sweet Spot, Fire Up The Flux Capacity and Crank It Up To Terabit Scale, Infinera’s Expanding FlexCoherent Toolkit allows Subsea Operators to Maximize Fiber Capacity and Reach) on this topic on the Infinera site already, and there seems to be general acceptance that 16QAM will not be a universal solution for optical transmission over today’s fiber.
(As a side note, Ian Redpath of Ovum presented the results of his informal survey of conference attendees in which less than 50% of the respondents seem to be “sold” on 16QAM at the moment).
Kevin’s third axis is the move to super-channels and in his case, he presented the evolution of the conventional DWDM vendors who have to buy expensive optical components for single-wavelength implementations (even if multiple circuits are implemented on one line card). These approaches tend to exhaust the increase in Baud rate and modulation order first.
This is where Infinera’s mastery of large scale PIC technology makes a pivotal difference. Large scale (ie. multiple wavelengths on one chip) PICs make super-channels practical today – in a way that discrete optics (and pluggables) simply cannot. Since the first commercial super-channel shipments in 2012, PICs have given Infinera the ability to radically differentiate our solution.
This was the focus of my presentation, where I showed the commercial success of super-channels in the long haul and then posed the question – could they achieve the same success in metro? Ironically, the word “metro” in this context covers a lot of ground (i.e. the metro market is made up of multiple segments), and we have certainly seen the success of high capacity, super-channel solutions in one of these segments – the Data Center Interconnect market. Several speakers acknowledged that this is a market that has essentially been created by Infinera last year with our introduction of the Cloud Xpress, and is now being copied with several announced (but not yet shipping) products from other DWDM vendors.
Another, distinct segment of “metro” is metro aggregation. Here we tend to see high capacity hub sites that certainly will benefit from super-channel operational scalability (i.e. install the line card and forget about it), but these sites aggregate traffic from spoke sites that are probably prime candidates for a move to 100Gb/s connection speeds.
This is the application area targeted by Infinera’s “sliceable PIC” technology. Above you can see how this works. Our sliceable PIC is located in the hub site, and FlexROADM technology is used to slice its capacity out to multiple spoke sites. At these locations, we deploy the application-optimized 100G PIC (oPIC-100). Service providers can also use Instant Bandwidth™ to turn on new super-channel capacity without visiting that location. The only truck roll needed is to install the oPIC-100 units in the spoke sites.
The combination of these technologies delivers operational scalability, cash flow optimization, and bandwidth efficiency.
And “metro” is still a much wider market than these two segments. We have metro access and metro packet as distinct segments, as well as mobile backhaul and mobile fronthaul.
Those of you who have been following the news will be aware that Infinera has made a commercial offer to acquire the Swedish company, Transmode. Their product range aligns perfectly with the existing Infinera solution set, with just enough overlap to allow a seamless, end to end solution to address the whole of the metro, long haul and subsea markets.
It’s clear that, in order to thrive, Layer C has to be “fed” by a scalable, dynamic and efficient Layer T. PIC-based super-channels have already proven themselves to be the perfect Layer T technology in the long haul market. It turns out that the same kind of point to point super-channel is an ideal solution for a simple Data Center Interconnect applications too. But now the addition of sliceability allows us to deploy PIC technology that’s ideal for the metro aggregation segment.
So, all in all, I have to say this was the most interesting WDM-NGON conference I’ve attended for many years – and not just because of the taxi strike!