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Optical/IP

Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll

Light Reading today stepped up the pressure on vendors to participate in its planned test of optical grooming switches by publishing the final version of the test plan at the same time as unveiling widespread support for the test among service providers.

The test is being undertaken by BTexact Technologies, the advanced technology division of British Telecom (BT) (NYSE: BTY), using test equipment from Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A).

The idea is to evaluate the performance of optical grooming switches now that several companies have launched equipment that competes with the market leader, the CoreDirector from Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN).

In order to do this, Light Reading has invited each vendor to build a small network of four switches in BTexact's lab so that its gear can be evaluated in conditions as close as possible to those of a real live commercial network. Vendors don't have to pay to participate in the test -- an issue considered vital to the integrity of results according to a recent poll in Light Reading (see Testing Testing).

A test plan describing this in glorious detail has now been finalized, following consultations with vendors. It can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here.

Light Reading's efforts to shed light on the pros and cons of today's grooming switches has won widespread support from service providers. Close to 40 of them responded to a request to express their support for this project, by sending messages to Light Reading. Smaller service providers probably have more to gain from the tests because they often wouldn't have the resources to undertake their own evaluations. However, representatives from several major carriers also sent in messages of support. They include:

  • France Telecom SA
  • SingTel
  • Metromedia Fiber Network Inc. (MFN) (Nasdaq: MFNX)
  • WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM)
  • Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT)

    — Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
    http://www.lightreading.com Want to know more? The big cheeses of the optical networking industry will be discussing this very topic at Opticon 2002, Light Reading’s annual conference, being held in San Jose, California, August 19-22. Check it out at Opticon 2002.

    Register now and save $500 off the registration fee. Just use the VIP Code C2PT1LHT on your registration form, and deduct $500 from the published conference fee. It's that simple!

  • Page 1 / 8   >   >>
    BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 10:10:44 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll It is a great idea but a massive undertaking. I trust all switch vendors will participate and allow unbiased results to be published.

    Before the testing can be undertaken, we need outline the tests. We also need some agreement on grooming requirements.
    xoip 12/4/2012 | 10:10:38 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll Can we make sure tests include information about the application as well
    - tests like should help us determine which technology is better? (Optical vs RPR)
    Thanks
    XoIP
    Litewave 12/4/2012 | 10:10:36 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll If I was a vendor, I would see precious little reason to take part in this test.

    First off, the test cases demonstrate somewhat basic switching, protection and grooming capability. Considering the level of immaturity of many vendor's switches, its quite possible some switches do not support one or more of the features being tested. What would that do for the vendor?

    Secondly, the test cases don't allow for features that differentiates vendors (for example, support got 10GbE LAN PHY, or a robust optical signaling protocol, etc), what this means is that most Service Providers will find the test results to be of cursory information only (baseline).

    Thirdly, will this testing then encourage or discourage a Service Provider from inviting a vendor to participate in an RFP? I doubt either. Most vendor invitations go out based on relationships and sales coverage. Plus, the numerous shootouts between IP Routers have proven this kind of test to be basically useless when it comes to an actual RFP process.

    Forthly, the resource requirements (million $s worth of hardware and people) for this test are much too heavy (especially in these times) and would be better spent elsewhere (say, actual customer trials, training, ? etc).

    I applaud LightReading for what they're trying to do, but I suspect a very lukewarm reception from vendors at best.
    twistedcopper 12/4/2012 | 10:10:33 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll you should invite tellium too.
    -twisted
    sigint 12/4/2012 | 10:10:32 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll I notice somethings new:

    1. Added emphasis on transparency, honesty and clarity, rather than the world of intrigue that telecom has been in the past few years.
    2. Time for vendors to put their money where their mouth is, rare event in the past.
    3. BobbyMax alias Harvey Mudd actually said something positive about a non-lucent affair !

    Is telecom FINALLY moving north ?!!

    lambdude 12/4/2012 | 10:10:31 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll The idea of the switch test is good but the reality is that if the carriers aren't spending money why would a vendor go through the cost and effort of this test? All vendors are tighting their belts for this downturn and creating a 4 node switch network, getting it ready for the test and having staff to help conduct the test doesn't make alot of sense.
    willywilson 12/4/2012 | 10:10:31 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll I notice somethings new:

    1. Added emphasis on transparency, honesty and clarity, rather than the world of intrigue that telecom has been in the past few years.

    2. Time for vendors to put their money where their mouth is, rare event in the past.

    3. Is telecom FINALLY moving north ?!!

    -------

    1. Added RHETORICAL emphasis. This is about as credible as their bubble-market press releases.

    2. Yes, except that the vendors don't have any money.

    3. Nope.
    GW Pearson 12/4/2012 | 10:10:29 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll Not sure why 2f-BLSR is specified, though 4f-BLSR is not. One would think that the higher level of protection offered by a 4f-BSLR would be a valuble asset.
    sigint 12/4/2012 | 10:10:26 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll We need you guys out there to support this - for the good of the whole industry.
    _________________________________________________

    We do ! We do !
    Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 10:10:26 PM
    re: Optical Switch Test: Ready to Roll I feel a rant coming on.

    The folk posting negative messages on this board probably come from vendors who know in their heart of hearts that their grooming switch would do badly in this test.

    Why do I say that?

    Here's the score. Right now, carriers aren't buying grooming switches, as some folk have said. But buried in that statement is two reasons why this is just the right moment for vendors to participate in the test.

    Reason No.1.

    Sooner or later, carriers will start buying grooming switches again, and when they do, they're going to have a much better choice than they had 9 months ago, when Ciena was practically the only game in town.

    There's every likelihood that these new switches are better than Ciena's CoreDirector, because they're more recent. But how are vendors going to prove that?

    Without a test like this one, they'll have to try and pursuade carriers to evaluate their gear - and carriers aren't going to do that at a drop of a hat. It costs carriers a lot of money to undertake such tests - and the carriers will be faced with trying to decide which gear to test first. Maybe they'll use Light Reading's test for guidance on this matter?

    Right now, Ciena can argue that it's proved that its CoreDirector is the best because its got by far the most customers. If vendors don't participate in this test, they're really not going to have any real ammo to fire back.


    Reason No.2.

    Carriers aren't buying grooming switches right now, so vendors can spare the kit and engineers needed for the tests.

    As I said, this all comes down to whether vendors BELIEVE in their products. If they know they can beat Ciena, then they'd be anxious to prove it. Similarly, if Ciena's competitors participate in this test and Ciena cops out, it'll send a strong signal to marketplace.

    We've already polled our readers on the most plausible reasons for vendors not participating in tests. Check this out:

    http://www.lightreading.com/re...

    Vendor knows that it won't do well in the test - 39%

    Vendor wants to discourage comparisons with competing products - 21%


    Vendor doesn't have the resources to support the test - 19%

    Vendor doesn't have a product that's ready for commercial use - 16%

    Vendor can't spare equipment for the test - 4%

    Light Reading is stumping up a considerable amount of money to perform this test, with the goal of moving away from comparing marketing claims towards comparing cold hard facts.

    We need you guys out there to support this - for the good of the whole industry.

    Peter
    Page 1 / 8   >   >>
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