Nokia released a software-based optical transport management platform that provides network operators with greater control over those optical assets. Kyle Hollasch, director of marketing for optical networking at Nokia, said the market has yet to hit a deployment inflection point in terms of SDN control over optical networks because the business models around those deployments have not yet reached the level of technology maturity.
Nokia’s answer is its WaveSuite platform that targets the emergence and growth of Layer 1 services. Hollasch said it’s focused on providing operators with a way to take those SDN deployments and craft a better business model for their optical assets.
The platform applications are in three categories. The first is service enablement, which allows for the more complete slicing of network resources to support more customers and the launch of new services. This also leverages a business-aware hierarchical service model that allows for greater control over network resources.
The second application category is node automation that allows for system management using a mobile device. This is basically an application on a device that uses GPS, a mobile data connection, a device’s camera, and a local wireless connection to allow a broader range of employees to manage the network.
The third application category is network insight capabilities that provide real-time network intelligence. This includes trending, analysis, and prediction to help with optimization decisions on performance and capacity.
The platform itself sits between the operating support system, business support system, and orchestration layer on top and open management, planning, and control layer below. It uses open interfaces to communicate between the two. That place has traditionally been home to custom software and interfaces.
Hollasch cautiously explained that the platform is interoperable with any controller that supports the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) Transport API (TAPI) standard. “That’s the idea, but I think in reality we have seen that sometimes there are more challenges in this sort of interoperability than was expected,” he said.
WaveSuite includes applications that allow network operators to virtualize and monetize their optical infrastructure. It uses the new MEF Optical Transport Services specification (MEF 63) that is focused on Layer 1 orchestration.
“It’s basically an optical domain services orchestrator with some important bells and whistles,” Hollasch said, adding that it’s also not intended to be an end-to-end orchestrator, citing that the market already has enough of those.
While WaveSuite is specifically focused as an application running on software, it does build on Nokia’s prominent position in the broader optical networking space. The vendor has recently scored a number of deals with operators, including a $1.17 billion deal with China Mobile and a deal with Telenor for an undisclosed amount.
Nokia was also recently named by IHS Markit as one of the top optical vendors alongside Cisco, Ciena, and Huawei. That ranking was broken into two categories: market presence, which was defined as a vendor’s position in the market, including size, brand recognition, reputation, and financials; and market momentum, which was defined as a vendor’s potential, including growth, reputation for innovation, and development of next generation technologies. Nokia ranked No. 3 for presence and No. 7 for momentum.
IHS had previously cited Nokia alongside Ciena and Huawei as garnering the most work from service providers as part of their optical networking plans. According to that survey of 28 service providers, Nokia and Huawei were cited as being part of network deployments by 39 percent of respondents, each. Ciena was connected with 32 percent of deployments.
Dell’Oro Group predicts the optical transport market will generate $75 billion in revenues over the next five years.