Light Reading

ADVA Touts Encryption for 100G Metro Optical Networks

Dan O'Shea

Will the battle among vendors for 100G metro optical deployments turn on who has the best transport layer encryption technology? Maybe not, but ADVA thinks the time is right to raise security as a topic of discussion in the sector. The vendor last month rolled out its Optical Secure in-flight Layer 1 encryption technology, and quickly secured its first carrier customer to use the encryption offering aboard ADVA'a FSP 3000 platform. (See ADVA Claims Metro 100G Security First and Vtesse Uses ADVA's Optical Encryption.)

Jim Theodoras, senior director of technical marketing at ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) lower layer network encryption has not gotten much attention over the years, though major financial firms always wanted some high-level encryption at the lower network layers for their mission critical data transmissions. The Edward Snowden revelations helped increase the profile of network encryption, and the demand for it, but the evolution of cloud networking has been just as big a factor.

"We're seeing a shift from local to hosted resources, everything coming and going from data centers," he says. "Now, we're load-balancing across the planet. Transport security is becoming a bigger part of the deployment decision."

Offering in-flight Layer 1 encryption might also be a matter of common sense at this point. Why wouldn't you use every security tool at your disposal to ensure secure transmissions? "Every part of the network gets tapped eventually," he says. "You need to encrypt everywhere -- at the VPN level, the transport level, the application level. You should use every arrow in your quiver."

Making sure that encryption is up to par with bandwidth trends is another consideration. ADVA already offered Layer 1 encryption based on the 256-bit version of the Advanced Encryption Standard at 10G and 40G, and with the migration to 100G is now instituting it as a standard 100G product. Theodoras says the vendor also builds on the viability of the AES keys by having them update 60 times every hour.

Using advanced encryption can increase bandwidth overhead. However, Theodoras says ADVA was able to get Optical Secure to the point where it adds less than 150 nanoseconds of latency. The 100G metro optical battle is just beginning, and with big players like Ciena, and even bigger ones like Huawei throwing their hats into the ring, ADVA may look to exploit Optical Secure as an edge to get carrier attention. However, it's also a good bet that other optical vendors are ready to bump up their own encryption capabilities. (See Huawei Ups the Metro Ante and Ciena Stirs Up the Metro Market.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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Stephan Rettenberger
Stephan Rettenberger,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/17/2014 | 10:31:49 AM
Re: Drawbacks
Thank you for the interest, good questions. The increase in power consumption is barely noticeable. The 100G Metro card typically operates at around 85Watts, i.e. less than 1Watt per 1Gbit/s capacity. The encryption uses the OTN overhead, so no change in BER performance or OSNR requirements.

For further details regarding operational processes, please reach out and I can put you in direct contact with one of our product experts. 

Thank you
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/3/2014 | 5:21:50 PM
Besides increased latency, any other drawbacks .. what about increase in power consumption ? BER ? Key rollover management complexity.
User Rank: Blogger
7/2/2014 | 2:02:58 PM
The article has bene updated to reflect the actual latency of less than 150 ns (nanoseconds) -- thanks for pointing out the slip-up.

Stephan Rettenberger
Stephan Rettenberger,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/2/2014 | 12:11:49 PM
Re: Security

Good comment. The solution has several regional certifications including CC and it actually exceeds FIPS requirements. FIPS certification, however, is currently a double-edged sword: When it comes to data security  and protection, a certification sponsored by a NSA-friendly agency is of limited value or even counterproductive in many regions. "Made in Germany" is the better label in that case. 
Stephan Rettenberger
Stephan Rettenberger,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/2/2014 | 12:09:46 PM
Re: Security
Good catch. The "microseconds" are incorrect. The latency of the solution is less than 150 nanoseconds – a factor of a million better than microseconds. Thank you for pointing that out.
User Rank: Light Beer
7/2/2014 | 7:22:36 AM
Re: Security
150ms added latency seems a lot, isn't it 150 microsecond ? it would already be around 30km equivalent added length : this can be quite a bit in a metro environment for latency sensitive applications (banks and co.) ... 150ms would be enormous ...
Phil Morrison
Phil Morrison,
User Rank: Moderator
7/1/2014 | 3:11:02 AM
Re: Security
We've supported encryption on the 1830 PSS for sometime now. Wondering if ADVAs implementation is FIPS or CC certified, as there's no mention of it anywhere. Cheers, Phil
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
6/30/2014 | 8:53:53 PM
Re: Security

Yes. And when you see other optical vendors jumping into encryption capabilities you may think security is finally taking the right steps.

Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/30/2014 | 6:35:07 PM
Deep encryption seems like a good bet in these security conscious times.
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