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Ciena adds software to enhance network control 

Engineers at Ciena have developed software to provide service providers with greater control over their networks. The operators' customers will also benefit from the software control, using a web portal to meet their own networking needs. 


Source: Ciena

"Networks can become more dynamic," says Tom Mock, senior vice president, corporate communications at Ciena. "Operators can now offer more on-demand services." If much work has been done in recent years to make the network's lower layers dynamic, attention is turning to software to make the networks programmable, he says.

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10 Gigabit Plain Old Telephone Service

Bell Labs has sent unprecedented amounts of data down a telephone wire. The research arm of Alcatel-Lucent has achieved one-gigabit streams in both directions over 70m of wire, and 10-gigabit one-way over 30m using a bonded pair of telephone wires.

Keith RussellThe demonstrations show how gigabit-speed broadband could use telephone wire to bridge the gap between a local optical fibre point and a home. The optical fibre point may be located at the curbside, on a wall or in an apartment's basement.    

Service providers want to deliver gigabit services to compete with cable operators and developments like Google Fiber, the Web giant's one-gigabit broadband initiative in the US. Such technology will help the operators deploy gigabit broadband, saving them time and expense. 

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EZchip targets multi-core processing with Tilera purchase

Network processor specialist, EZchip Semiconductor, is to acquire Tilera. The deal is valued at $130 million in cash: $50 million when the deal closes, and up to $80 million more depending on performance targets being met. 

Bob Wheeler, The Linley Group

Tilera's products include multi-core processors, intelligent network interface cards (NICs) and one rack-unit (1RU) network - 'whitebox' - appliances used for security applications.

Acquiring Tilera will broaden EZchip's market. Tilera's devices are used for network appliances, enterprise routers, cloud computing, video and voice encoders, security, deep-packet inspection, load-balancing, and emerging applications such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV). 

EZchip's first acquisition will also broaden the company's US presence and customers: Tilera has 100 customers including Brocade, Check Point Software Technologies, Cisco, Fujitsu, Harmonic, MikroTik and ZTE.

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Colt's network transformation

Colt's technology and architecture specialist, Mirko Voltolini, talks to Gazettabyte about how the service provider has transformed its network from one based on custom platforms to an open, modular design.


It was obvious to Colt that something had to change. Its network architecture based on proprietary platforms running custom software was not sustainable; the highly customised network was cumbersome, resistant to change and expensive to run. The network also required a platform to be replaced -  or at least a new platform added alongside an existing one - every five to seven years.

Mirko Voltolini

"The cost of this approach is enormous," says Mirko Voltolini, vice president technology and architecture at Colt Technology Services. "Not just in money but the time it takes to roll out a new platform."

Instead, the service provider has sought a modular approach to network design using standardised platforms that are separated from each other. That way, a new platform with a better feature set or improved economics can be slotted in without impacted the other platforms. Colt calls its resulting network a modular multi-service platform (MSP).

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OIF prepares for virtual network services 

The Optical Internetworking Forum has begun specification work for virtual network services (VNS) that will enable customers of telcos to define their own networks. VNS will enable a user to define a multi-layer network (layer-1 and layer-2, for now) more flexibly than existing schemes such as virtual private networks.

Vishnu Shukla"Here, we are talking about service, and a simple way to describe it [VNS] is network slicing," says OIF president, Vishnu Shukla. "With transport SDN [software-defined networking], such value-added services become available."

The OIF work will identify what carriers and system vendors must do to implement VNS. Shukla says the OIF already has experience working across multiple networking layers, and is undertaking transport SDN work. "VNS is a really valuable extension of the transport SDN work," says Shukla.

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Ciena launches the 8700 metro Ethernet-over-WDM platform  

  • The 8700 Packetwave is an Ethernet-over-DWDM platform 
  • The 8700 is claimed to deliver double the Ethernet density while halving the power consumption and space required.


Source: Ciena

Ciena has launched the 8700 Packetwave platform that combines high-capacity Ethernet switching with 100 Gigabit coherent optical transmission.

The platform is designed to cater for the significant growth in metro traffic, estimated at between 30 and 50 percent each year, and the ongoing shift from legacy to Ethernet services.

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5th Generation radio: A summary

The IEEE Communications magazine published in its February and May 2014 issues a series of excellent articles on the early work and thoughts regarding 5th Generation radio. Here is a mind-map of some of the issues and thoughts raised in the articles in the February issue.

Click here for a .pdf of the mind-map.