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Dr. Lawrence Roberts

Light Reading
Interview
Light Reading
1/25/2001
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Light Reading: Where do you stand on the debate over the merits of OOO [all optical, or photonic] switches and OEO [optical-electrical-optical] switches?

Roberts: I don’t see any benefit to doing OEO if you can do photonic. Photonic is cheaper.

Light Reading: OEO does allow you to see, or manage, the traffic though, right?

Roberts: If you look at the photonic switches that are out there, whether it’s Corvis or anybody else, they claim that they’re all photonic -- but in reality there are OEO components too. The grooming of traffic and the ability to add an optical stream is something that is fundamentally important, and a pure photonic play will not be able to address that.

Light Reading: What about these really big photonic switches that have 1,000 ports?

Roberts: There’s no use for them yet.

Light Reading: Interesting that you should say that. I heard that there are only maybe 70 sites where you could install them.

Roberts: There’s no use for them anywhere today. The biggest site we can see at the moment has got maybe 10 OC192 [connections].

Light Reading: So the whole OOO market is not really big? And yet, there are about 100 startups trying for a piece of it.

Roberts: I have a similar problem with it. And I have another problem. Once you successfully do photonic switching, it’s so cheap, where will [photonic switch manufacturers] get the revenue? Let’s just count the ports and how many there are going to be and what the market size is going to be. It’s actually in the hundreds of millions at the best.

Light Reading: What about the ultralong-haul market? Some people also think that is a niche market, but there are a lot of players there also.

Roberts: Oh, there’s going to be a shakeout.

 
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mahadeva
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mahadeva,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:59:05 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
Is that a misprint??? Who in the industry is working on petabit switches? I thought there were only a few companies working in the 1 to 10 terabit range.
pablo
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pablo,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:59:04 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
" .. I thought there were only a few companies working in the 1 to 10 terabit range .."

Which, of course, is 0.01 petabits... :-) That is yesterday's news, zettabits is where it's at... :-)
bryan_gregory
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bryan_gregory,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:59:02 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
Mahadeva,

Check out Hyperchip's web site for PetaBit Switch information. I guess Terabit's will be old-hat in a couple of years :-)

WWW.HYPERCHIP.COM

Regards,
Bryan-
gea
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gea,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:58:56 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
I'd place any amount of money I know exactly what Caspian is doing, and remember you heard it from "gea" first. Note that Daniel Blumenthal from UCSB has taken a leave to join Caspian.

What Caspian is going to try to do with optics is bascially the same thing that Ipsilon did with an ATM switch (converting a switch into a router by identifying switchable flows). With the Caspian switch, any time a flow is big enough to merit siwtching in the optical domain (ie, MEMs), then the electronic matrix will tag the flow and dump it down into the optical matrix.

In that sense, it is easy to scale to petabits, because once you have a wavelength flow, you've got 10Gb/s. Enough wavelength flows, and you're switching Petabits.

chechaco
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chechaco,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:58:53 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
Do you remember what happened to Ipsilon? Dynamic identification of flows does not scale well. That's why people use CR-LDP/RSVP-TE to set up connections in IP environment.
redface
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redface,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:58:40 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
Hi Gea, Daniel Blumenthal joined Calient, not Caspian.

What you say about Calient is interesting, please feed us more. Are they doing any dynamic wavelength conversion?
netskeptic
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netskeptic,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:58:39 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
"Do you remember what happened to Ipsilon? Dynamic identification of flows does not scale well. That's why people use CR-LDP/RSVP-TE to set up connections in IP environment."

I would rather say that people have a hope that MPLS and RSVP would work one day. In many respects it vividly reminds me the hopes pinned on ATM in its early days.
bobilll
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bobilll,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:58:22 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
What do people think of this statement?

"Roberts: I have a similar problem with it. And I have another problem. Once you successfully do photonic switching, itGÇÖs so cheap, where will [photonic switch manufacturers] get the revenue? LetGÇÖs just count the ports and how many there are going to be and what the market size is going to be. ItGÇÖs actually in the hundreds of millions at the best. "

The photonic switching companies carry hefty valuations based in large measure on perceived potential for exceptional revenue growth. Is the perception incorrect?-- will the revenue dry up because the market is smaller than thought?

Big A
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Big A,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:57:42 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
I agree with Roberts: There is little value add with core transport. There will be little intelligence in these boxes. Making the optical device to switch might be better, but actually moving the photons won't be a huge market.
Genuine
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Genuine,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:56:50 PM
re: Dr. Lawrence Roberts
When I set out to read this interview, like other articles I am spending time with, what I was hoping for is what will make IP profitable? What keeps business owners up at night? The Internet? Does business find themselves lacking in bandwidth to accomplish their revenue goals with the internet? How much business is coming from the Internet anyway? What are the goals beside moving data and e-mail? Do they think they will be left out of the "New Economy" if they do not get a three demensional/fully interactive Web site? Isn't that what sales people are? What is the "New Economy"-Cisco thinks it is voice over IP. But then again, isn't that taking way the only considerable profitablility (economy) of a telecommunications/ISP? I guess the question boils down to, What markets are you creating with your products? Please do not tell me the "New Economy". Tell me your vision.
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