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Optical/IP

Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has launched its first packet-optical transport system (P-OTS), creatively named the Carrier Packet Transport System (CPT). It's intended for carriers that are making the transition to Ethernet but don't want to give up the familiar reliability of Sonet/SDH.

For carriers that have been using technologies such as Ethernet over Sonet, Cisco is proposing that they change to the CPT, using Ethernet transport and MPLS-TP.

The CPT600, CPT200, and CPT50 (6-slot, 2-slot, and fixed-configuration, respectively) combine Ethernet switching, DWDM transponders, Optical Transport Network (OTN) support, and Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) capabilities. General availability is scheduled for the first quarter.

Why this matters
Cisco's contribution to P-OTS so far has been restricted to IP over DWDM, a very router-centric alternative. CPT shows that Cisco is willing to pitch P-OTS to carriers' optical transport groups as well as their router experts. In fact, the product family was developed by Cisco's optical group, the division in charge of the ONS 15454 line.

It's been no surprise to see Cisco back MPLS-TP, an Ethernet transport option that would play off the company's Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) franchise, but the CPT shows why Cisco is so gung-ho about the technology.

For more
Here's a helping of recent stories about MPLS-TP, packet/optical transport, and Cisco's optical team.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:18:32 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

Craig,


I am glad to see Cisco Systems moving away from the ONS 15454 because it never reached its full potential.


Mark Lutkowitz, Telecom Pragmatics

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:18:30 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

Craig,


The biggest regret would be inadequate product development including on needed minor refinements.


Mark

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:18:30 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

 


So, at some level...isn't the Cerent 454 the most influential product in the last 10 years?


Before you laugh...bubble creation...destruction of Lucent and Nortel...think about it.  Things really went nuts when Cisco put up $6.7B for the 454.


 


seven


 

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:18:30 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

Mark - Anything in particular you think the '454 should have done? What should its biggest regret be?

Rush21120 12/5/2012 | 4:18:29 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

The Cerent product created MSPP and morphed from MSPP to MSTP in the last couple of years, with zero dev. on MSPP and minimal on MSTP.  What will customers who have invested $B's into Cisco Optical tdm/EOS gear do now that yet another nail is put in.   Keeping in mind new traffic is migrating to Ethernet and ESOAM is finally getting it's act together. Wonder if they'll offer a buy back plan?  ;-) (yes I'm being sarcastic)

tmmarvel 12/5/2012 | 4:18:29 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

This protocol stack simplification is needed. We have one definitive L3 routing protocol (IP, with all its flaws, but still), we only need one *generic* L2 protocol (MPLS-TP), and L1/0 will be TDM (SDH/OTN) and/or WDM over available electromagnetic connectivity media (optical, electrical, or even wireless).


Network services can be provided at any of these layers L3, 2, 1 or 0. The sizable market for L2-0 services (incl both inter and intra-organization contract scenarios) establishes the need for cost-effective "MSP/TPs" products for below L3 services.


For CSCO (and JNPR), the emergence of the non-IP-dependent L2 profile of MPLS, ie the generic MPLS-TP, creates a major challenge for maintaining their market share and profit margins in the traditionally lucrative MPLS switching market that they were able to dominate (at their customers' expense) by keeping MPLS labeling control dependent on their de-facto proprietary IP-based signaling protocols.


Ie, real the kicker here is that MPLS services (through transport profile) will now be commoditized--which naturally benefits the SP and enterprise customers. But for the traditional IP/MPLS router vendors, the mere introduction of 'me-too' MPLS-TP and OTN in their platforms seems like a low-powered response to this major commoditization of what used to be their own protected market.


Will be interesting to see if any technology vendor (or why not SP) will be able to create differentiated below-L3 products/services. After all, high profit margins, enabled through such differentiation, are needed to fund ongoing innovation and R&D.

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:18:29 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

Relatively recently, one service provider found it cheaper to forklift the 454s than to upgrade them.


Mark

Rush21120 12/5/2012 | 4:18:29 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

MPLS-TP management has huge challenges as it's pushed to the access.  It's easier within a switch to natively do it but will become a question of cost for access and CPE.

chechaco 12/5/2012 | 4:18:26 PM
re: Cisco (Finally) Adds P-OTS

I think that it is realization that TDM-based fabric is not suitable for the next generation of P-OTS. Either dual or agnostic, i.e. packet fabric must be at the core of P-OTS. ONS 15454 had remarkable run, almost unprecedented for any routing company. Perhaps morphing ONS 15454 into new P-OTS would have defeated the goal of supporting packet transport rather than packet services. +$.02

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