Ciena To Build Software-Defined WAN To Accelerate SDN Ecosystem

Ciena Corporation, the network specialist, has announced that it is collaborating with CANARIE, Internet2 and StarLight to build the industry’s first network that unites all of the key packet, optical and software building blocks required to demonstrate and prove the benefits of software-defined, multi-layer wide area networks (WANs). The collaboration leverages Ciena’s OPn network approach to create the industry’s first fully operational end-to-end WAN that leverages OpenFlow across both the packet and transport layers, is supported by an open architecture carrier-scale controller and intrinsic multi-layer operation, and incorporates real-time analytics software applications.

The research network is designed to help spur innovation in the telecommunications industry by giving research and education (R&E) institutions and other network operators a platform to experiment with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and other advanced technologies like agile photonics and real-time analytics software applications. Ciena believes that SDN is key to the next wave of value creation for service providers as it brings network programmability together with powerful new software intelligence capabilities to help monetise and optimise network assets in dynamic service environments. This new network platform will help speed SDN development for carriers and enable Ciena and its partners to explore and refine practical paths to SDN adoption and realisation of its benefits.

The network is the first to broadly deploy multi-layer SDN technologies, providing OpenFlow-enabled SDN at both the optical transport layer as well as the packet networking layer. It also offers a modular carrier-scale software control system that leverages open source components, and features high-impact, real-time analytics software that improves optimisation and monetisation in dynamic service environments. With this platform, researchers can trial new technologies on a fully operational network without having to build a unique infrastructure for every use case.

The network includes hardware, software and bandwidth provided by Ciena and commercial and R&E community partners CANARIE, Internet2 and StarLight.

A multi-path infrastructure, featuring significant topology richness, initially connects Ciena’s corporate headquarters in Hanover, Maryland, USA with Ciena’s largest R&D center in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. International connectivity is achieved with Internet2 through the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange in Chicago and CANARIE, Canada's national optical fiber based advanced R&E network. This research network has the potential to cross connect data flows from Ciena R&D labs to virtually any National Research Network (NREN) or university research facility across the globe. This is the first time a network vendor, like Ciena, has been connected to an international span of NRENs.

The network architecture currently spans 2500 km. The network footprint is expected to grow in 2014.

Ciena solutions included in the testbed:

  • OpenFlow v1.3-enabled 4Tb/s core switches, featuring 400G packet blades;

  • Transport – Layer 0 and Layer 1 OTN – network elements from Ciena’s industry-leading 6500 and 5400 converged packet-optical product families, configurable under extended OpenFlow protocol control;

  • A prototype open, modular and modifiable control software system that leverages open source components and is suitable for large-scale and geographically-distributed network control;

  • Multi-layer provisioning and control, driven by an abstracted northbound API;

  • Real-time analytics software designed to enable multi-layer resource optimisation and dynamic network service pricing for revenue optimisation.

“Going above and beyond a simple testbed, this live, fully functional network will drive continued innovation and demonstrate how a truly OPn network architecture can unleash the full power of SDN in the WAN. By building the industry’s first fully-featured, fully-open and fully-operational, end-to-end and multi-layer SDN-powered WAN, we can offer a real-world experience for customers and researchers to trial, refine and prove SDN concepts and technologies in both the network and the back office – without having to build a unique infrastructure for every use case,” said Steve Alexander, Senior Vice President and CTO at Ciena.

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Updated Date: Feb 03, 2017 00:10:21 IST