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 Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (3) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
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
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
LightSpeed Looks to Plug the Gigabit Gap
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/23/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Parks Predicts HBO OTT Success
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, Universal, Intel and Microsoft, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.