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Ciena Powers Up at the Edge

Carol Wilson
11/9/2017
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Ciena is trying to jump out ahead of the edge computing craze, today announcing three new products and a product update that bring 10-gig and 100-gig capacity closer to the edge of the network in both access and aggregation platforms.

The idea is to give network operators more flexibility and cost efficiency as well as a modular path forward to the day when they can plunge into full-fledged edge computing deployment, says John Hawkins, product and marketing manager for Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN). While everyone is buzzing about edge computing and the need to push compute capabilities for processing and storage much closer to the end user, there are still many technology and operational decisions to be made before that happens.

"Our customers are still cautious -- the bigger players especially," Hawkins comments in an interview. "What we are trying to enable is a modular entry as they want to be opportunistic in rolling out 10-gig and 100-gig connectivity today, and in the future slide in the module that adds the compute server. They don't have to commit day one, they still have that option as the market and business complexities are worked out."

The new products include two edge access systems: a new Ciena 3926m for delivering 10 Gbit/s Ethernet that includes an expansion slot for third-party virtual network functions intended as a business premises device; and a new Ciena 3928 Service Delivery Switch for 10 Gbit/s Ethernet that can be used inside a large building or deployed in a hardened cabinet in the outside plant for fiber-to-the-premises or neighborhood deployments. The new switch comes with either AC or DC power.

"It is a bit surprising --10 gig seemed like a lot of bandwidth but folks are asking for it," Hawkins said. "We are going to meet them where they need it."


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The new products on the edge aggregation side include a doubling of capacity for Ciena's 8700 Packetwave platform in a smaller package that saves space and power for more rapid scaling of services up to 100 Gbit/s for business services, mobile backhaul and data center interconnect. In addition, Ciena is introducing a new 5170 Service Aggregation Switch designed with an x86 server to enable the Ciena Service Aware Operating System (SAOS) software and its open VNF hosting capabilities.

"For the most part, this is aimed at points of presence like colocation sites, carrier hotels," Hawkins says. "We see a lot of stacking of 10-gig boxes so the alternative is a 100-gig box. There is also a certain amount of prebuild going on for the advent of 5G. People are starting to build out cell sites at 10-gig and this is prepping for backhauling of all of those bits."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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