CALIENT Technologies

Move the light, not the fiber

Letter from PTC’13: It’s a 100 GB World

The telecom world needs more bandwidth.  That’s the message I came away with from my trip to the Pacific Telecom Council’s PTC’13 Conference in Hawaii.

The PTC is a group of 50 telcos that share the vision of better telecommunications services for countries in the Pacific hemisphere.

The theme of this year’s event was Capacity, Capability and Collaboration, but in fact it could have been capacity, capacity and capacity from what I heard in attending several sessions and making my own presentation.

The explosion in data and the emergence of “big data” are causing the increased demand for more capacity.  The emergence of software-defined networking (SDN) also figured prominently in the discussion.  There was a lot of discussion about the needs of data centers, which surprised me given the telco-nature of the audience.

Many at the conference advocated also for 100GB technologies as the solution for the growing demand.  In fact, on my panel (Emerging Network Technologies) everyone focused their talks on 100GB technology – but me.

I presented the CALIENT hybrid packet-circuit approach, which can make use of 100GB technology, but can also be used to optimize performance and lower the latency of 10GB and 40GB networks as well.

The new hybrid data center solution combines both a packet- and optical circuit-based switched fabric so the IP network is designed to handle the short bursty traffic flows between the top-of-rack switches.  The optical trunk network runs in parallel and it switches in as needed to support large persistent flows and it offers unlimited bandwidth and very low latency, typically less than 60 nanoseconds.

The circuit switch is data rate and packet agnostic, so it can support any of the 100G technologies discussed at the show without upgrade. What it allows telcos and data centers to build is a scalable, high-capacity and low latency network that supports all network protocols.

SDN also can be used in this network to provide the control over the application, control, and infrastructure layers simplifying the management and set up of network connections.

Overall the presentation went well and the show provided me with insightful information about the increasing need for more capacity and how software-defined networks can aid in the emergence of “big data.”


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