Redefining P-OTS

2010 figures to be a big year for packet-optical transport, as it moves from the metro into the network core

Sterling Perrin, Senior Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

January 20, 2010

2 Min Read
Redefining P-OTS

Packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) are moving from the metro and into the network core, and Heavy Reading believes that 2010 will be a big year for this emerging product segment. Over the past several months, we've researched the core P-OTS opportunity and published the findings in a new Heavy Reading report entitled "The Core Packet-Optical Transport Evolution."

With a host of equipment suppliers now targeting core P-OTS applications, we have refined the Heavy Reading core P-OTS definition. Our criteria include the following:

  • WDM transport and wavelength-level switching with a core/backbone DWDM focus. This means the DWDM system must transmit at least 1,000 km without regeneration, with 80 channels of DWDM and integrated ROADM.

  • Integrated optical crossconnect. We believe operators will require at least 1 Tbit/s of switching capacity today and want systems that scale to multiple terabits of switching capacity in the future.

  • Full support for Sonet/SDH.

  • OTN and Ethernet switching. On the OTN side, we see strong momentum building for the new ODU0-level switching, which is highly efficient for Gigabit Ethernet traffic. Operators are also interested in the ODUflex standard, which is a more flexible container for OTN. On the Ethernet side, we believe that connection-oriented Ethernet is required.

  • ASON/GMPLS optical control plane. The control plane is required for building mesh networks, similar to what first-generation optical crossconnects can do in core networks today.

  • Transport-class network element. This new equipment must be as reliable and resilient as current DWDM and optical crossconnect systems.

Our definition will continue to be refined as the new segment takes shape, and as operators refine their own requirements for these new devices. As of the end of 2009, no vendor was shipping a product that met all of Heavy Reading's requirements – though many were trying. We believe those closest to market are the Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) 5430/5410 RSS, startup Cyan Optics Inc. Z77, Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA) AMN 6400, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. OSN 8800, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) 7100 HCSS, and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s much rumored, but not publicly disclosed, next-generation core switch.

Of these vendors on the short list, most need to commercialize their large-scale (terabit and multi-terabit) OTN optical switch fabrics. Huawei, meanwhile, is already shipping a large-scale OTN/DWDM product (the OSN 8800), but has yet to introduce a packet switching fabric on this platform. Cyan Optics is very close, with its commercially shipping Z77 product. Still, Cyan has yet to add ODU0 switching to the Z77 – something we believe will be a key requirement in core P-OTS RFPs.

— Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

For more information about Heavy Reading's "The Core Packet-Optical Transport Evolution," or to request a free executive summary of this report, please contact:

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About the Author(s)

Sterling Perrin

Senior Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

Sterling has more than 20 years of experience in telecommunications as an industry analyst and journalist. His coverage area at Heavy Reading is optical networking, including packet-optical transport and 5G transport.

Sterling joined Heavy Reading after five years at IDC, where he served as lead optical networks analyst, responsible for the firm’s optical networking subscription research and custom consulting activities. In addition to chairing and moderating many Light Reading events, Sterling is a NGON & DCI World Advisory Board member and past member of OFC’s N5 Market Watch Committee. Sterling is a highly sought-after source among the business and trade press.

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