& cplSiteName &

Infinera Adds Business Smarts to Its Instant Network Pitch

Ray Le Maistre
3/20/2017
100%
0%

Infinera has a very clear message for the optical networking community hanging out at the OFC event in Los Angeles this week -- speeds and feeds are still important but smart capacity management tools and CFO-friendly business models are the new cutting edge.

For Infinera, those smarts come in the form of "Instant Network," a set of tools designed to give operators greater control of their network capacity, better align the activation of capacity to customer needs (eradicating the need for any idle capacity), reduce costs and more closely match network costs with their revenues. (See Infinera Launches Instant Network.)

Such topics will be much in evidence at OFC this week as one of Infinera's arch rivals, Ciena, has also been shouting about its flexible, programmable networking capabilities -- and that hasn't escaped the Infinera's team's attention. (See Ciena Adds Apps for Optical Network Flexibility.)

More on that rivalry later.

But back to Infinera. The vendor is pitching its "software-defined capacity" Instant Network proposition as an evolution of its Instant Bandwidth tool, which was launched in 2012 and, according to Infinera, is now used by more than 70 operators. (See Infinera Intros Instant Bandwidth.)

So what's new? Three main things -- Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).

Bandwidth License Pools (let's not call it BLP) is what's likely to excite operator CFOs. This enables operators to load up as much capacity on their networks as they want but only start paying for it once it's activated, which can, according to Infinera's senior director marketing, Mark Showalter, be done in minutes using existing Instant Bandwidth tools. In the past, operators would have over-provisioned their networks and be paying for idle capacity so they could quickly meet customers' demands, but that cost model can now be avoided.

Moveable Licenses, meanwhile, gives operators the chance to transfer a license acquired for capacity on one link and shift it to another connection, a capability that's enabled by being able to carve network capacity into multiple slices. "Not only can you activate capacity and then get invoiced for it but you can move the license from one link to another -- all of that is unique," claims Showalter, who notes that these capabilities will work with existing deployments of Infinera's ICE (Infinite Capacity Engine) and 500G PIC (photonic integrated circuit) deployments.

Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE), which is built on its existing Xceed SDN controller, is the application that hints at the possibilities enabled by cognitive networking (but, unlike the other new tools, it's not available until 2018). (See Infinera Unveils Transport SDN Tools, Slams Rivals .)

The ACE tool takes network planning and support processes traditionally done manually and adds them to the network in the form of a "microservices-based path computation element." This enables the network to be aware of its current state and optimize accordingly, working in tandem with the bandwidth license tool capabilities. This is "a real step towards automation... a step towards cognitive networking," states Showalter.


For all the major developments from this year's OFC, check out our dedicated OFC show news channel here on Light Reading.


All of these capabilities sound like they would be of great use to network operators -- indeed, Telstra added some comments to Infinera's official Instant Network announcement to say that its vision for its Asia-Pacific subsea network aligns with the vendor's pitch.

But Infinera is not the only company with a software-defined transport network management pitch, as previously noted. So is there much difference?

Yes and no, appears to be the answer. With Ciena having announced its Liquid Spectrum offer only days ago, Showalter made constant reference to the key difference between the two propositions: Namely, that Ciena's technology is about optimizing capacity that has already been provisioned and paid for, while Infinera's Instant Network is about optimizing and activating pre-deployed capacity that is paid for only once it's optimized. (To be fair, it should also be noted that the Infinera man said that Ciena's Blue Planet software, which underpins Liquid Spectrum, does have a "bigger picture view" of the network, so he did give his rival some credit.)

Industry analyst Andrew Schmitt, founder at Cignal AI, agrees that Ciena's pitch is focused on "seeking to extract maximum capacity from deployed assets that are bought and paid for." And in terms of that bigger picture, Ciena's Liquid Spectrum "also has a more overt way of expressing openness for controlling transponders/common equipment from multiple vendors, using Blue Planet. Infinera can do this with its software, but Blue Planet has a longer history of multi-vendor work," notes Schmitt.

Meanwhile, Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst for Optical Networking and Transport, Sterling Perrin, doesn't think there's a great deal of differentiation -- just different approaches to arrive at the same kind of benefits. "The keys for Ciena are the Wavelogic Ai chip combined with software automation via BluePlanet. For Infinera, it's the ICE PIC/DSP combo combined with software automation via the Xceed SDN controller. Ciena's hardware approach is single wavelength scalable up by modulation format, and then by adding multiple waves. Infinera, of course, is PIC-based, and, with the new CX2 coming out at 1.2 Tbit/s, for Infinera there's a need to scale down as well as up, so it has the bandwidth licensing approach through which capacity is pre-provisioned but then licensed and paid for as needed. Infinera also scales up with flexible modulation."

So there are differences in architecture, but "the end goals are very similar. The two will probably spend a great deal of time bashing each other, but the greater trend is delivering more and more flexibility and SDN-based automation to the optical layers."

The winners, ultimately, should be the network operators, which have long been demanding tools that can provide them with additional flexibility and greater efficiencies.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, International Group Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (1) comment


Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: Payment From Every Device

3|21|17   |   5:55   |   (0) comments


A world where everything and everyone is connected creates new points of interaction for commerce. These digital experiences cannot be developed in isolation and instead require an ecosystem to drive mass consumer and enterprise adoption and create better consumer engagement. Predicting when that growth will happen is difficult, but always keeping the end user in ...
LRTV Interviews
InterDigital's Role in the 5G, IoT Era

3|21|17   |   05:47   |   (0) comments


Alan Carlton, managing director and VP for Europe at InterDigital, talks about the company's role in 5G projects in Europe and the prospects for the company in the IoT market.
LRTV Interviews
Lessons Learned From Digital Transformation

3|21|17   |   05:51   |   (0) comments


Ravi Palepu, global head of Telco Solutions at Virtusa, talks about some key takeaways from telco digital transformation experiences during the past couple of years.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
NetNumber's CMO Shares Her Diversity Do's

3|21|17   |   3:19   |   (2) comments


The telecom industry is transforming the world, and diversity plays a critical role in driving the innovation behind it. NetNumber CMO Kim Gibbons shares why diversity and being authentic is a do amidst all the don'ts women in comms often hear.
LRTV Custom TV
Software-Driven Architecture for 5G & IOT

3|20|17   |   1:56   |   (0) comments


We present Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges's report from Mobile World Congress -- where operators and vendors are working to bring a variety of technologies together to make virtualization a reality in the era of 5G and IoT.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: Italy First Pasta the Post for 5G
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/17/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
5G Faces a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 3/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.