Welcome to our further highlights of the finalists for Light Reading's Leading Lights Best Telecom Product award. We gave you the first six of our 12 finalists in part 1, and here are the remaining six, in alphabetical order. (See Leading Lights Finalists 2014: Best Telecom Product (Part 1).)
Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) -- Multi-Layer Automation Solution -- In part 1, we mentioned software intelligence and programmability as rising tides in optical networking. Infinera's solution addresses that trend head on and helps provide carriers with the programmable network foundation they need to just plain go crazy with SDN. The solution consists of the super-channel FlexROADM, the first standards multi-layer control plane for spectrum switched optical networks (SSON) and the first 500 Gbit/s flexible-grid super-channels.
Teamed with the Infinera DTN-X packet optical transport networking platform, these new capabilities offer comprehensive automation, including full visibility and control of the OTN switching layer to create and direct 1G- to-100 Gigabit Ethernet services in any direction to fill the super-channels. This automation allows service providers to deliver services quicker, to redeploy bandwidth more dynamically, and to lower operational costs by eliminating manual operations and truck rolls. SDN-minded carriers can leverage the open SDN APIs of the solution to orchestrate across both the router and transport layers to deliver automated provisioning and optimization via router bypass for additional speed and capex/opex savings in the future.
Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) -- Contrail -- Contrail isn't the only SDN controller that became available within the last year, but Juniper made an early case for broad appeal by releasing an open source version -- a move that connects directly with rising interest among carriers in open source hypervisors and OpenStack for orchestration.
The Contrail controller creates a virtual network overlay on top of switching and routing equipment using industry standard routing protocols, such as BGP, MPLS, and IP VPNs, lessening the need to learn and use new, unproven protocols that might require hardware upgrades, and eliminating vendor lock-in.
- Juniper Rolls Out Contrail SDN Solution
- Juniper Opens SDN, Clouds OpenDaylight
- Juniper Gives OpenDaylight Some Loving
Nuage Networks -- Virtualized Services Platform 2.0 -- Nuage parent Alcatel-Lucent also landed on our list of finalists with its Cloudband 2.0 platform. Nuage's Virtualized Services Platform 2.0 is an innovative feat in its own right, and it recognizes that the data center is a hybrid world where virtualization is concerned.
The platform consists of three major components. The Virtualized Services Directory abstracts networking constructs down to basic network building blocks in several categories: Connectivity, Domains, Security, Quality of Service, and Analytics. This allows the requirements for network services to be expressed simply, consistently, and in a repeatable manner. The Virtualized Services Controller is an SDN controller that uses OpenFlow to manage provisioning of virtual network services. The VSC ensures that the network follows application event changes instantly and automatically via policy-based configurations, eliminating error-prone device-by-device manual provisioning. The Virtual Routing and Switching network hypervisor fully virtualizes the network via technologies, including Layer 2 and Layer 3 forwarding and Layer 4 security. To this architecture, Nuage has added a Virtualized Services Gateway to extend SDN functionality between virtualized and nonvirtualized assets in the data center.
RAD -- Distributed NFV Module for the ETX-205A Carrier Ethernet demarcation device -- RAD's short-listing in this category comes just as it has put its money where its NFV mouth is by opening a glitzy new NFV R&D center. (See Eurobites: RAD Commits to NFV R&D.)
RAD's Distributed NFV (D-NFV) module, built on an integrated industry standard x86 platform, enables service providers to deploy new functionality and capabilities rapidly, such as diagnostics, WAN optimization, and security, to ensure service agility and simple network functionality upgrades. The D-NFV module benefits from the hardware-based functionality of the hosting ETX-205A Carrier Ethernet 2.0-certified NID. Its virtualization platform enables an entire ecosystem of third-party network functions and value-added capabilities to complement the ETX-205A's service assured L2/L3 demarcation capabilities. Integration of the D-NFV module into the ETX-205A converges three physical and virtual entities: a NID; a virtualization infrastructure with KVM hypervisor; and software applications that run on the VM infrastructure.
RAD has maintained that, though NFV implementation is commonly conceived at data centers and centralized, it doesn't need to be. The D-NFV module locates virtual network functions wherever it makes the most functional and economic sense; in particular, this solution enables placing NFV at the customer premises. This approach is consistent with the view laid out in a seminal ETSI whitepaper on NFV.
Transmode Systems AB -- Metro 100G Solution -- Many companies believe the metro 100G market is about to explode. Transmode has taken the position that it will be 100G with its own unique technical and economic requirements, such the need for lower power consumption and smaller footprints. The company responded by launching the first CFP-based, all-pluggable 100G solution for metro networks with support for coherent optics, and supporting both Layer 1 WDM transport and Layer 2 packet-optical applications.
The new units that are part of this solution include a 100G Transponder, a 100G Muxponder, and a 220G Layer 2 Ethernet Muxponder (EMXP). The new EMXP is part of the company's family of EMXP units that support Ethernet switching in the Native Packet Optical 2.0 architecture, with a common Ethernet feature set from 1G or 10G CPE access nodes to a 100G core network.
VeEX Inc. -- VePAL TX300S – The multi-service test and measurement solution addresses OTN, SDH, SONET, PDH, DSn, mobile backhaul, and synchronous networks. Equipped with SyncE, 1588v2 PTP, CPRI/OBSAI, and "wander measurement" test options, the unit offers synchronization turnup and troubleshooting test functions for MSOs, telcos, and mobile operators migrating to 4G LTE.
It also includes a VeExpress service support system, allowing TX300S users to share test options, either purchased or leased, with multiple devices, thereby reducing capex and optimizing opex. In the traditional test and measurement business, customers buy all the hardware and software options they may need in the form of licenses, but not all their technicians' jobs are created equal. VeExpress brings flexibility and better cost management by allowing them to plan their purchases better, share licenses, and rent licenses as needed for special projects.
So there you have it: Twelve candidates in the Leading Lights category of Best Telecom Product, because it was impossible to settle on just 10. Deciding the winner will be awfully tough, too, but we're going to work day and night to figure it out until June 17, when we'll name the winner at the Leading Lights party to close the first day of our Big Telecom Event. (If we pass out during the party, it's from sheer fatigue and nothing else.)
Hope to see you at BTE in Chicago in a few short weeks.
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading