Light Reading

Cisco's Core Router Gets Optical Genes

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
10/2/2012
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is adding a multilayer control plane to its CRS-3 core routers, opening the possibility of programming the IP and optical layers to react to one another.

The technology, called nLight, is revealed Tuesday as Cisco announces two CRS-3 wins in central Europe: with Czech research network CESnet and with telecom and data-center provider Global TeleSystems Inc. (GTS) (NYSE/Frankfurt: GTS).

A bit of hardware goes hand-in-hand with nLight: a 100Gbit/s IP-over-DWDM transponder for the CRS-3, using coherent optical technology acquired with CoreOptics in 2010. The releases imply CESnet and GTS are using that transponder but don't say much else about how they're taking advantage of nLight. (See Cisco Renews Optical Focus With CoreOptics.)

The bigger story behind nLight is the ability to provision the optical and IP planes at once, using the existing suite of Cisco Prime provisioning software -- or even to define relationships between the planes. The CRS series didn't offer that kind of visibility before, says Sanjeev Mervana, senior product director in Cisco's service provider group.

It might sound a little like GMPLS, but that technology -- which lets the Layer 2 network define circuits across the optical network -- was just a "foundational point" in packet/optical integration, Mervana says.

"What we need is much more than that. You need information about when you want to turn on that circuit," Mervana says. Alternatively, when there's a failure in a wavelength's path, you would want the Layer 2 network to learn about it immediately, he says. This is the kind of programming Cisco expects to make possible with nLight (which is available on CRS-1 routers, too).

Converging the layers is likely to become more common as packet and optical transport more frequently find themselves in the same equipment. Cyan Inc. has been offering multilayer planning and management as part of its Cyan 360 software package.

Other router tricks
Cisco is announcing out a couple of other features for the CRS-3.

One is the ability to connect two CRS-3 chassis back-to-back to behave as one router. Before, you needed a switching shelf -- another 7-foot rack worth of CRS-3 -- to connect multiple chassis of the core router.

The back-to-back attachment is something the Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) Extensible Routing System (XRS) 7950 -- a Leading Lights finalist -- can also do. It's one of the features AlcaLu crowed about when the router launched in May.

Cisco can still boast that AlcaLu can't connect three or more routers as a single logical router, while AlcaLu can counter that such implementations are rare -- and that its multichassis shelf is on the way, in any event. (You know the drill ... see Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Clash Over Core Routers.)

Finally, Cisco is giving the CRS-3 an 80Gbit/s services engine -- a card for running services such as denial-of-service protection. Previous service cards for the router only ran to 20 Gbit/s.

Neither the back-to-back ability nor the 80Gbit/s card are available for the CRS-1.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:01 PM
re: Cisco's Core Router Gets Optical Genes


The converged packet/optical control plane seems like it's going to be commonplace in a few years.  I think Cyan is onto something there, and now Cisco is talking about it ... and I would guess (based on zero knowledge, just a guess) that Ciena would head that way with OneConnect eventually.

joferrei
50%
50%
joferrei,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:00 PM
re: Cisco's Core Router Gets Optical Genes


"you need information about when you want to turn on that circuit," Mervana says.


What type of control algorithm/mechanism is being used? What triggers reconfiguration of optical (or often layer 1, digital) circuits? What is the time granularity?

paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:19:58 PM
re: Cisco's Core Router Gets Optical Genes


Craig,


I think that combining the Packet and Optical Control planes is a huge problem organizationally and network planning wise within carriers.  Not only are there technical challenges but huge network operational issues (Suppose a router bug screws up your optical network for example).  If this happens in deployment at a Tier 1 carrier (Cyan at smaller carriers is different), I would be surprised anytime soon.


Also the characterization of GMPLS is not exactly accurate.


seven


 

Flash Poll
From The Founder
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Beach Petroleum on eLTE & Mining

4|8|15   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


Network systems integrator Jeremy Hamlyn explains how Huawei's secure packet-based trunking communications system, eLTE, can help remote communities and companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors, deploy efficient communications networks that are perfect for video and data as well as voice.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
Can WiFi Calling Find Its Voice?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/13/2015
Senator Proposes New 'Title X' for Net Neutrality
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/13/2015
Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent in Merger Talks
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/14/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Cats with Phones
Steve's Phone Click Here
Steve Saunders's personal phone.