Juniper Networks launched an optical networking platform that disaggregates the optical line system hardware from network control software. The cloud-based system includes the open, programmable optical line system (hardware), and a microservices-based management and control platform (software).
Donyel Jones-Williams, director of product marketing management at Juniper Networks, said this allows operators to deploy any transponder solution, optimize the photonic layer control plane, and maintain service continuity.
“This can amplify the optical layer so that service providers have greater flexibility around how they want to do things like data center interconnect,” Jones-Williams said.
The programmable photonic layer feature includes Juniper Networks’ programmable ROADM product. Jones-Williams said the ROADM taps into white box work from Lumentum, which has worked with a number of optical transport network companies.
ROADM is designed to control modulated infrared and visible light beams of various wavelengths in a fiber optic network. The technology is typically used in long-haul systems that employ wavelength division multiplexing (WDM).
The new platform also links with Juniper’s previously announced Cloud-Grade Networking initiative unveiled in June.
The software control platform uses open, standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) to support the deployment of open source disaggregated wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) transponders.
Jones-Williams said the programmable ROADM can be scaled to in excess of 400 Gb/s bit rates without having to upgrade line system hardware. This can support use cases like data center interconnect.
The software platform uses a standards-based YANG API to integrate with Juniper’s NorthStar wide-area network (WAN) software-defined network (SDN) controller. This provides network visibility and management from Layer 0 to Layer 3.
“In the past there has been a monolithic model that allowed vendors to dictate how software was used,” Jones-Williams said. “A microservices design allows for easier integration of in-house developed software, and that’s what we are doing with this new platform.”
Jones-Williams also said the new product launch builds on Juniper’s acquisition of BTI Systems in early 2016. That deal allowed Juniper to accelerate the delivery of open and automated optical transport systems with its NorthStar WAN SDN controller.
“One of the values of that acquisition was it allowed us to bring on more optical experience very quickly,” said Jones-Williams.
More Network Control
Jones-Williams said Juniper has recognized the “cloudification of the service provider network” and looked at how it could package its routing platforms to support the transformation.
“This was not just looking at the virtualization aspect of this, but also not wanting to lose site of the physical part,” he said. “Service providers need to have that flexibility in the physical network as well, and the key is more programmability and more control.”
Juniper Networks’ rival ADVA announced a similar addition earlier this year to its optical transport product line. That move included a ROADM-based photonic layer designed to reduce operational costs of metro networks. The layer includes SDN control over footprint, configuration, and cabling needs of deployments.
IHS Markit recently noted the optical networking market was seeing increased pressure to adopt open software solutions “to deliver more open and interoperable optical networks.”
The pressure has seen a number of initiatives launched toward that goal, including the Open ROADM MultiSource Agreement, the Telecom Infra Project’s Open Optical Packet Transport Group, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), and Optical Interworking Forum (OIF).