Breaking Down Open Optical Barriers

At OFC 2022, much was discussed about open optical networking and how it offers service providers more choice, faster innovation, and improved economics.

Another hot topic at the event was that of coherent pluggable optics and how they are increasingly deployed in a variety of environments, from routers and switches to 5G radio units and servers.

I would like to bring these two topics under a common lens and share with you my own personal experience from three very busy days meeting service providers and performing software automation demos at Infinera’s OFC booth.

What’s stopping us from being more open?

Every service provider I talked to confirmed how eager they are to adopt open optical networking. Even a recent survey by Heavy Reading found that 74% of service provider respondents are willing to consider alternative 800G optical engine/transponder suppliers beyond their current incumbent optical networking vendors.

But most worry how to monitor and control their disaggregated networks in an efficient manner, similar to what they experience when operating a closed system. In fact, the same Heavy Reading survey confirmed that an increase in operational complexity in multi-vendor networks is a top concern for service providers considering the move to open optical.

Can the United Kingdom be an ORAN pioneer?

A new ADVA-led initiative in the UK is driving integration of technology suppliers for open radio access network (RAN) solutions. Here’s what’s behind the UK 5G DU-Volution project.

It began with elements in the British government raising concerns about the supply chain for the country’s expanding 5G infrastructure. Specifically, there was anxiety around international vendors that could be considered high risk.

Then politics and practicalities aligned and it was decided that reliance on these vendors needed to be reduced by diversifying the UK’s 5G supply chain. Initiatives would be set up to create a more competitive supply base to unlock the full potential of 5G and give the UK telecoms sector a major boost. 

Now the British government is encouraging UK-based vendors to help build a disaggregated, vendor-neutral Open RAN (O-RAN) ecosystem that will accelerate the roll out of 5G architectures – both public and private – and pave the way for 6G services. But along the way, there are some key technical and logistical challenges to address. 

Achieving efficiency and scale 

On the technical side, enhancing spectral efficiency, improving power efficiency, reducing footprint and minimizing latency are all crucial. The best way to achieve these goals is to encourage innovation and collaboration. That’s why the UK government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport has created the Future RAN competition (FRANC). FRANC’s objectives are to:

  • Accelerate the development of high-performance 5G Open RAN solutions that meet UK dense urban requirements by 2025
  • Attract new 5G RAN suppliers to conduct R&D in the UK, and foster professional collaborations between potential new entrants into the UK’s public network
  • Contribute to the delivery of the 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy’s objectives of disaggregated supply chains, open interfaces by default, and security being a priority in network deployment.

Read the full story here.

Breaking down Optical Barriers.

At OFC 2022, much was discussed about open optical networking and how it offers service providers more choice, faster innovation, and improved economics.

Another hot topic at the event was that of coherent pluggable optics and how they are increasingly deployed in a variety of environments, from routers and switches to 5G radio units and servers.

I would like to bring these two topics under a common lens and share with you my own personal experience from three very busy days meeting service providers and performing software automation demos at Infinera’s OFC booth.

Read the full story here.

SpaceX sends more Starlink terminals to Ukraine but experts warn of targeting

SpaceX is sending another batch of Starlink terminals to Ukraine but experts have warned about potential targeting.

Ukraine has suffered intermittent connectivity as it defends itself from Russia’s invasion of the country. Some of the outages have been the result of damage to telecoms infrastructure itself, while others due to wider power outages.

Within the past few hours, NetBlocks – which tracks network disruptions and shutdowns – posted a particularly concerning update given the extra reprehensible shelling by Russian forces around Ukraine’s nuclear power plants.

Read the full article here.

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