Optical Networking Featured Article

Huawei and Telefonica Ready for Commercial with SDN IP Optical Network

February 18, 2016

Huawei and Telefonica recently announced the success of a trial migration of commercial traffic to the latter’s SDN IP optical network in Peru. As a result, Telefonica de Peru expects to gain a competitive advantage with its newly-gained ability to offer a modern network solution to enterprise and other large-scale customers. It also represents a significant victory for Huawei, which has heavily promoted SDN as a solution for commercial networks.

The companies began testing SDN IP optical network technology in March 2014. End-to-end service provisioning and the ability to perform preventive maintenance over a network connection were two of several key results the testing accomplished. SDN is about separating control and data planes, but Huawei takes it a step further with a multi-layered control plane. Much of the testing was to ensure that multi-layer restoration and other inter-layer functionality worked.

Both Huawei and Telefonica claim that this marks the first time real commercial traffic has traveled over an SDN-based IP optical network. Whether it is or not, this is a significant milestone in addressing a challenging problem: the explosive growth in the demand for data worldwide and whether or not providers can catch up.

Cisco describes how “resource-intensive applications are causing network traffic to grow exponentially”. That’s not surprising, given the expansion of technologies like unified communications (UC) and the growing support for telecommuting that use video for communication as a replacement for in-person meetings. Applications that access databases now support big data, with its large, unstructured format. These types of activities alone would be enough to bring most networks to their knees, but only begin to account for all the data demand of the future.

The ability of SDN to reduce CAPEX and OPEX is a well-known fact, but what Huawei and Telefonica de Peru have done is make it available on a large scale as a commercial product. As this becomes more commonplace, many companies will likely reconsider the way their networks are designed

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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