Will the battle among vendors for 100G metro optical deployments turn on who has the best transport layer encryption technology? Maybe not, but ADVA thinks the time is right to raise security as a topic of discussion in the sector. The vendor last month rolled out its Optical Secure in-flight Layer 1 encryption technology, and quickly secured its first carrier customer to use the encryption offering aboard ADVA'a FSP 3000 platform. (See ADVA Claims Metro 100G Security First and Vtesse Uses ADVA's Optical Encryption.)
Jim Theodoras, senior director of technical marketing at ADVA Optical Networking lower layer network encryption has not gotten much attention over the years, though major financial firms always wanted some high-level encryption at the lower network layers for their mission critical data transmissions. The Edward Snowden revelations helped increase the profile of network encryption, and the demand for it, but the evolution of cloud networking has been just as big a factor.
"We're seeing a shift from local to hosted resources, everything coming and going from data centers," he says. "Now, we're load-balancing across the planet. Transport security is becoming a bigger part of the deployment decision."
Offering in-flight Layer 1 encryption might also be a matter of common sense at this point. Why wouldn't you use every security tool at your disposal to ensure secure transmissions? "Every part of the network gets tapped eventually," he says. "You need to encrypt everywhere -- at the VPN level, the transport level, the application level. You should use every arrow in your quiver."
Making sure that encryption is up to par with bandwidth trends is another consideration. ADVA already offered Layer 1 encryption based on the 256-bit version of the Advanced Encryption Standard at 10G and 40G, and with the migration to 100G is now instituting it as a standard 100G product. Theodoras says the vendor also builds on the viability of the AES keys by having them update 60 times every hour.
Using advanced encryption can increase bandwidth overhead. However, Theodoras says ADVA was able to get Optical Secure to the point where it adds less than 150 nanoseconds of latency. The 100G metro optical battle is just beginning, and with big players like Ciena, and even bigger ones like Huawei throwing their hats into the ring, ADVA may look to exploit Optical Secure as an edge to get carrier attention. However, it's also a good bet that other optical vendors are ready to bump up their own encryption capabilities. (See Huawei Ups the Metro Ante and Ciena Stirs Up the Metro Market.)
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading