& cplSiteName &

Ciena Stirs Up the Metro Market

Dan O'Shea

The metro market is quickly being redefined as the data center interconnection market, and Ciena is rolling out a new metro transport platform aimed at not only providing the optical foundation for the metro, but also capable of multi-terabit switching of traffic between data centers.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) today introduced its 8700 Packetwave platform, which integrates 100 Gigabit Ethernet and MPLS-TP packet switching with 100G coherent optics and photonics technologies. The platform also can be used with Ciena's V-WAN software for on-demand cloud service connectivity.

The platform, which generated some speculation last week when it was hinted at by Ciena executives during the company's earnings conference call, will be commercially available this summer. At least one Ciena customer -- Fibertech Networks -- already plans to deploy it. (See Ciena Unveils Packetwave Switching Platform and Ciena Hints at Big Product Announcement.)

Ciena appears to be making a bid to further shake up its traditional image as an optical specialist, and be considered more of a packet-optical player, but also to prove it can provide value in the fast-growing metro Ethernet market.

"We've taken the best of the data center and the best of metro optical, and put them together in one platform whose sole purpose in life is to aggregate and switch Ethernet traffic over DWDM between data centers," says Mike Adams, vice president of product and technical marketing at Ciena. "Metro networks need to be built differently, and we believe this product helps create a new marketplace."

Ciena is clearly excited about that data center connectivity marketplace, as are others, including other vendors with an optical heritage, and those that have a more packet-oriented view of the world, such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) (See Eurobites: ADVA Targets Inter-Data Center Connectivity and Transmode Intros Coherent 100G Metro 100G Plug-Ins.)

Ciena's timing is also significant, as metro networks appear on the verge of moving to 100 Gigabit Ethernet to support explosive bandwidth demand for data center interconnection and other applications. (See OTN Innovation Boosts Metro 100G.)

Anyone thinking Ciena was going to be taking on Cisco's NCS 4000 or Juniper's PTX3000, though, will probably be disappointed, believes Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin. (See Cisco Unveils Carrier SDN Network Fabric and Juniper Aims Big With 100G Optical.)

While the new 8700 product does boast both packet and optical capabilities, it's a "simple product -- a high-density Ethernet switch with DWDM optics attached, and I'm not sure how much demand there will be for those DWDM capabilities," says Perrin.

Perrin was expecting something a bit more exciting. "I think Ciena may have set expectations a bit too high. This is a simple product -- it doesn't have the higher-level packet functionality I was expecting -- MPLS-TP is not setting the market alight right now. Ciena seems to be going for simplicity and low cost. It's not the next-generation 6500, though to be fair that's maybe not what Ciena was aiming for."

What's not in doubt is that the metro market is hot and that data center connectivity is the application driving demand and excitement. It will also be fertile ground for the transport SDN debate that is raging currently, and which will be addressed in detail at the Big Telecom Event in Chicago (June 17-18).

Ciena has its own take on that topic, with its OPn architecture strategy making the case for greater optical layer programmability. As Adams puts it, "SDN networks are useless without a programmable hardware foundation." (See OFC: Ciena Smartens Up Photonic Layer.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see the agenda.

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/11/2014 | 1:41:40 PM
Ciena infatuation?
Just noticed that the last THREE daily news emails in a row all led with a Ciena story.  "Ciena Soars on Strong Demand", "Ciena Hints at Big Product Announcement" and now this.  Should we conclude that Ciena boosted their advertising budget on LR recently, or just that you guys are in love?
User Rank: Lightning
6/10/2014 | 4:42:00 PM
Re: Seems decent to me
My comment on "simple" needs some elaboration. First, simple to explain and simple to make are 2 differnt things. Second, operators often prefer simple so it's not necessarily a knock.

What I was trying to get at with that comment was that the initial reaction is to compare the 8700 to new P-OTS products such as the NCS 4000, Coriant mTera, etc. The P-OTS value proposition tends to be a Swiss Army Knife with lots of modular features. The 8700 doesn't have alot of these features.

However, Ciena has told me that the 8700 is not aimed at these applications so the comparison could be unfair. But I'm still trying to get my head around the addressable market for this product/product type.

User Rank: Light Sabre
6/10/2014 | 12:34:12 PM
Seems decent to me
I think most of the traditional transport vendors have kind of given up on developing a full IP/MPLS/transport platform just like the router vendors have kind of given up on integrated photonics.  The density for the size of the platform is good, 20x100G coherent DWDM in a 10RU platform is higher density than the PTX3K, with the PTX3K supporting 16x100G.  You can get 4 of each in a standard rack.   

The pictures show CFP plugable optics in the platform, so I'm curious if they have built their own with the Wavelogic chips.   The PTX3K has integrated optics in the PIC based on a NTT coherent chipset.  

The NCS4K right now is kind of vaporware and the true IP/MPLS support is maybe coming next year.   The 4K right now is just an OTN switch, the packet functions of the platform do not exist.  The 100G DWDM cards for the NCS4K are just transponders, you can't terminate traffic coming in the ports to other ports across the fabric.   It's really a glorified 15454/M6 at this point until they add additional functionality to it.  

Datacenter is the right play.   You know what you need if you want to do Nx100G between remote datacenters?   Another transport platform to do transponding to go along with your Ethernet switches, which this eliminates. 


Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
Wednesday, November 30, 1:00PM EST
SDN & the Software Defined Data Center
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
OneAccess NFV Solutions

10|26|16   |   5:30   |   (0) comments

Antoine Clerget, CTO of OneAccess, discusses how his company has expanded its product line from enterprise-class routers to include a universal virtualized CPE as well as a suite of VNFs to help telco customers evolve to an NFV future.
LRTV Custom TV
The Journey Toward Carrier-Grade WiFi

10|26|16   |   3:39   |   (0) comments

In this Light Reading interview, Dave Sperling, CTO at Smith Micro Software and active participant of the WBA's policy working group, discusses the need for carrier-grade WiFi. Technical and business challenges slowing the fulfillment of this goal are addressed, as well as management strategies that will enable communication service providers to optimize end user ...
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE BBWF Highlights

10|26|16   |     |   (0) comments

At BBWF 2016, ZTE showed a broad range of innovative technologies that are kick-starting an ultrafast broadband journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Trump: Dump AT&T/TW & Comcast/NBC
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/24/2016
T-Mobile: AT&T & TW Means Ma Bell Not Focused on Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/24/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
'Oh, Were You Looking for This?' Click Here
'I was just playing some games...'
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.