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Ciena Adds Apps for Optical Network Flexibility

Combining Wavelength Ai, Blue Planet MCP and a handful of SDN-like applications, Ciena creates a portfolio it calls Liquid Spectrum.

Craig Matsumoto

March 15, 2017

2 Min Read
Ciena Adds Apps for Optical Network Flexibility

Ciena is starting to offer applications to go along with its latest optical-networking pieces, bringing it all under the umbrella name of Liquid Spectrum.

Announced today in advance of OFC, Liquid Spectrum is all about letting operators alter the optical network quickly -- turning capacity up or down, or deploying new wavelengths quickly.

"The way operators in general have been building networks is very static," involving overbuilding to accommodate worst-case scenarios, says Helen Xenos, Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN)'s director of portfolio solutions marketing.

The applications run on top of Ciena's Blue Planet Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) platform, which handles network management and orchestration.

The fanciest of the four new applications is the Wave-Line Synchronizer, which automates wavelength provisioning across multiple vendors' gear. This only holds gear that can be managed with MCP, of course. Similarly, the Liquid Restoration application can automatically dial capacity up to preserve service availability.

The other Liquid Spectrum applications are rather straightforward. Performance Meter monitors the network's status, mainly with an eye toward network planning, and Bandwidth Optimizer suggests deployment plans for optical channels, including what path they should take.

While MCP can manage certain types of non-Ciena gear, the Liquid Spectrum concept was created with Ciena gear in mind. Specifically, it's meant to take advantage of the WaveLogic Ai chip, announced last year, which allows for bandwidth to be adjusted between 100 Gbit/s and 400 Gbit/s in 50 Gbit/s increments. (See Ciena Unveils Its Logical Next Step.)

Ciena isn't alone in trying to liquefy the optical network, of course. There's a race on to infuse transport networks with real-time flexibility and the principles of software-defined networking (SDN). Infinera, for instance, offers the Xceed Software Suite, which includes an SDN controller built from OpenDaylight code -- giving Infinera a chance to take shots at rivals' openness. (See Infinera Unveils Transport SDN Tools, Slams Rivals.)

Other contenders include the Network Services Platform (NSP) from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Transcend from Coriant . (See Coriant Intros SDN, NFV Portfolio.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, 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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