21CN Supplier Ciena Outlines Importance of OTN

As an increasing number of bandwidth-consuming network services – like IPTV, VoIP and mobile TV – come to market, telecom operators have to converge multiple networks in order to viably bring new services to the end user, reduce operational expenses (OPEX) and eliminate excessive capital expenditure (CAPEX).

Ciena, who won massive contracts with BT for their 21CN network last year say that operators can leverage OTN for achieving network convergence and successful IP/Ethernet migration.

Convergence has been a telecoms buzzword for several years, and is already set to be a definitive word for the telecoms industry in 2006, when its impact will really come to the fore, says Ciena’s Kevin Martin.

“Clearly, building a converged network isn’t something to be taken lightly. With new IP- and Ethernet-based services, telecoms operators must respond quickly to reduce operational expenses (OPEX) and eliminate unnecessary capital expenditure (CAPEX) associated with operating multiple parallel networks.

With this in mind, the Optical Transport Network (OTN) standard is the ideal technology on which to build a converged network. OTN is an ITU standard that was unified from competing standards that were being developed in both the ITU and ANSI.

Using OTN, multiple networks and services such as legacy SONET/SDH, Ethernet, storage and video can be combined onto a common infrastructure. OTN is the only transport layer standard in the industry that can carry a fully-managed 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) circuit from IP/Ethernet switches and routers at full bandwidth, including the proprietary overhead associated with many specific vendor implementations. With the rapid migration toward next-generation IP/Ethernet-based infrastructures by operators, OTN is becoming the transport layer technology of choice.

OTN is the ideal standard on which to build a converged network largely because of its transparency. As operators continue to deploy increasingly complex networks using multiservice provisioning platform devices and routers, they lose service transparency. As the common optical backbone network of the future, OTN can provide robust transparent SONET/SDH transport that extends SONET/SDH-like OAM and FCAPS capabilities to data protocols like Ethernet, Fibre Channel, ESCON, and Digital Video.

However, OTN does much more than transparently transport SONET/SDH. It is also highly effective in supporting asynchronous data services such as GbE, 10GbE, various speeds of Fibre Channel, ESCON and FICON that do not have the same physical layer performance monitoring capabilities and fault isolation necessary for a high quality of service. OTN brings those capabilities to asynchronous services without sacrificing the qualities that make those services attractive in the first place, such as low cost and ease of installation.”

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