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ECI's New Flavor of P-OTS

Ray Le Maistre

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2011 -- ECI Telecom Ltd. shook up the packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) sector here Tuesday by unveiling a new family of platforms under the name Apollo and introducing yet another acronym to the industry -- OMLT (Optimized Multi-Layer Transport). (See ECI Telecom Launches Apollo.)

As an acronym, it's not that easy to say, unless you cheat and pronounce it "omelette," which makes it much more palatable.

But while it sounds tasty, what is OMLT? Well, to put it another way, it's P-OTS version 2.0, but ECI wanted to avoid that sort of nomenclature.

Oren Marmur, ECI's head of optical networking and CESR (Carrier Ethernet Switch Router), says current P-OTS systems haven't delivered true convergence up 'til now, but claims the Apollo line really does offer complete flexibility in a single platform in that the various products in the new family (ranging from the metro access to the metro core and even long-haul deployments) can be configured for any combination of optical and Carrier Ethernet capabilities, all of which can be managed by a single OSS.

ECI is hoping that carriers will be attracted to that level of flexibility and the operational savings that come from having a single box (smaller footprint and reduced power consumption).

Marmur recognizes, though, that it's going to take a while to get its OMLT products embedded in carrier hearts and minds. "This is something that the carriers will want eventually," he notes, but says that operator buying cycles and the way that many carriers have their teams set up (often different teams for optical and IP/Ethernet) mean that ECI will need to bide its time and be patient.

But is this something that will even get the attention of the carriers? Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Sterling Perrin believes the proposition is valid and puts ECI in contention with some of its larger rivals. "This is a huge move for ECI, and it really is a next-generation solution -- it will make them more competitive," says the analyst, though he doesn't see OMLT becoming a recognized, standalone category of transport platform.

Where ECI's new family could have some significant impact, says Perrin, is in the metro core, where the vendor has added Optical Transport Network (OTN) capabilities. "If this type of product takes off in the metro it will make Sonet/SDH redundant -- it will push Sonet/SDH out of the metro core," states Perrin.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:49:27 PM
re: ECI's New Flavor of P-OTS

Omlettes are a great value and typically good for you!   Great product and perspective...


User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:49:26 PM
re: ECI's New Flavor of P-OTS
It is always interesting how vendors promote platforms until they come up with a new improved one and then mention the shortfalls of the existing platforms. Makes perfect sense but does the optimised multi-layer transport (OMLT) now provide (at least for the next few years) all that is needed or is a P-OTS 3.0 already visible?
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:49:22 PM
re: ECI's New Flavor of P-OTS

Ah, but isn't that the point of innovation?  After all, we are always striving for better, aren't we?

The OMLT convergence of L0-3 brings a great degree of scalability, with high-capacity support in the fabric and in the optical layer.  It is as future-proof as we can get today.  Will we have an OMLT 2.0 or a P-OTS 3.0?  Maybe, probably, who knows?  The idea is to innovate -- not for innovation's sake, but to address real networking problems. 

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