Light Reading
The company puts a dose of packet-optical into the core, offering a multilayer control plane for the CRS-3

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
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration

11|21|14   |   04:29   |   (7) comments


At the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how SDN has reshaped the discussion around packet and optical integration.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Highlights at BBWF 2014

11|20|14   |   3:40   |   (1) comment


Broadband World Forum is one of the world's largest telecoms, media and technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe converging on Amsterdam every year to identify the Next Big Thing. BBWF is an exciting place to meet the entire industry under one roof and identify the latest in network innovation, service optimization and customer ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Will BCMS Stimulate Margin for Broadband Operators?

11|19|14   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


In BBWF 2014, Liu Shuqing emphasizes the value of FMC 2.0 based full service experience by throwing light on the BCMS solution. The underlying principle of this innovative technique is to create network robustness and driving network from connection oriented to ACE – BAND oriented infrastructure, in which applications, cloud, and user experiences will be an asset ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SingleFAN3.0: Better Connected Experience

11|19|14   |   3:06   |   (1) comment


At the BBWF 2014, David Hu, the VP of Huawei Access Network Product Line, talked about the future of access networks – SingleFAN3.0: faster broadband, wider coverage, and smarter connection.
LRTV Interviews
Basil Alwan Interview: The Road to Cloud

11|19|14   |   09:09   |   (0) comments


Alcatel-Lucent's head of IP and Transport talks about the migration towards a web-like networking environment, the impact of the cloud, SDN and NFV, and the yet-to-be-announced FP4 chip.
LRTV Documentaries
FairPoint Makes a Fair Point About Analytics

11|19|14   |   1:56   |   (1) comment


The US-based communication service provider gets to grips with advanced analytics, tackling data and breaking down the silos within its own business.
LRTV Documentaries
Analytics Lets C Spire Get to Know Subs

11|19|14   |   3:01   |   (2) comments


It's all about the data for US operator C Spire as it uses analytics to personalize its customer service down to individual subscribers.
LRTV Interviews
Nuage Branches Out With SDN: CEO Interview

11|17|14   |   9:32   |   (0) comments


Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused unit Nuage Networks, talks about the opportunities and challenges of breaking out of the data center into wide-area networks.
Light Reedy
Telecom Analytics Grows Up

11|14|14   |   1:15   |   (4) comments


The big data analytics debate has moved on from a year ago, with some experts suggesting it's no longer a technology challenge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Compass

11|14|14   |   3:17   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Shuo Yang, Huawei Principal Cloud Infrastructure Architect introduced Huawei Compass, the software tool for solving customers' problems on the journey of OpenStack Cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Cloud Strategy in European Region

11|14|14   |   2:56   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dr. Gotz, CTO of Huawei IT in European Region introduced Huawei's cloud strategy in European region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Contribution on OpenStack

11|14|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dennis Gu, Huawei Chief Architect of Cloud Computing introduced the relationship between OpenStack and cloud computing, and Huawei's contribution on OpenStack.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 11/20/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed