NSN Adds Packet-Optical Punch

The hiT 7300 is getting enhanced with an OTN switch, but NSN says it's still OK partnering with Juniper on non-packet-optical alternatives

Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

June 15, 2010

2 Min Read
NSN Adds Packet-Optical Punch

The strengthening packet-optical story at Nokia Networks might seem to fly in the face of the company's partnership with Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), but NSN officials insist they're just supplying all available options for carriers.

The company is making its hiT 7300 DWDM system into a bona fide packet-optical transport system (P-OTS) with the addition of data-handling functionality, announced today. Really, Nokia Siemens is adding the functionality of the Optical Transport Network (OTN) switch it announced in March, says Jürgen Grabenhofer, the company's head of marketing for optical networks. (See NSN Plays P-OTS Card and NSN Intros OTN Switch, New 40G.)

Nokia Siemens isn't saying when the addition will be available; for now, samples are in the hands of some customers.

What's interesting is that Nokia Siemens can also take a different approach, favoring IP over DWDM rather than a packet-optical architecture. That's the point of its partnership with Juniper, which involves having Nokia Siemens's management system control Juniper's T-series routers. (See NSN, Juniper Converge IP & Optical.)

Juniper continues to insist it doesn't need a P-OTS entry, favoring instead a core network based on MPLS. Many analysts disagree with that approach, though. (See Juniper's Packet-Optical Spells M-P-L-S and Is Juniper Junior-Grade?)

All of this brings up the question: Now that Nokia Siemens has a P-OTS play of its own, won't the company be inclined to steer carriers in that direction, rather than toward the Juniper point of view? Nokia Siemens insists that won't be the case.

"All our customers are very educated; you can't convince them. They know their networks inside and out," Grabenhofer says.

Rather, the company is hedging its bets, because the hiT 7300 can now be used for optical convergence in two ways. With the OTN switch, it can be used in P-OTS fashion, or, when used in conjunction with Juniper's T-series core routers, it can be an element in an all-IP network using IPoDWDM.

Even with the P-OTS mindset, the hiT 7300 can satisfy different options. It can be used for sub-lambda grooming, a packet-based approach where traffic is steered into the unused portions of wavelengths. Or, the OTN switch can aggregate lots of lower-speed interfaces into a wavelength, an approach that more closely resembles that of Synchronous Optical Network (Sonet) or Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH).

"I've seen it here at the conference. For some carriers, there's uncertainty over whether to go directly to an all-packet network or to maintain the TDM approach," says Oliver Jahreis, NSN's head of DWDM product management.

By "conference," he's referring to the WDM & Next Generation Optical Networking conference, being held this week in Monaco (where it's apparently raining, so there).

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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