alu 2012Network operators that leverage and converge optical network transport and IP technologies stand to reduce network capacity demands by 40 percent, according to a study by Bell Labs, the industrial research arm of Alcatel-Lucent. Operators can achieve this by integrating and coordinating resiliency methods in the IP routing and optical transport network, thereby reducing the need for 100G router ports and optical transponders, researchers said.

According to Bell Labs’ study results:

  • An integrated resiliency strategy saves costs while still guaranteeing network and service availability;
  • Introducing protection for the optical layer based on GMPLS (Generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching) allows service providers to meet the same availability levels achieved by routing protection methods based on MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), with total savings up to 40% on router ports and optical transponders over a five year period;
  • The combination of IP and optical transport layer protection with a GMPLS user network interface (UNI) allows service providers to accelerate these savings by freeing up a third of deployed network capacity and providing headroom for two years of traffic growth.

An Optical-IP Convergence Roadmap
Bell Labs also found that by “establishing an integrated multi-layer control plane” today, service providers can pave the way for a cloud-optimized network at a later date. To do so, Bell Labs recommends that service providers:

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  • Introduce an Agile Optical Network with a dynamic GMPLS control plane;
  • Extend optical transport layer control to the IP routing layer with a GMPLS UNI;
  • Provide open, programmable Software Defined Network (SDN) interfaces based on open standards.

“There is no better time than now to begin the converging of IP and optical transport,” Bell Labs’ Distinguished Technical Staff Member Ben Tang commented in a press release. “We know network traffic continues to increase exponentially, especially with new Cloud applications and ‘the rise of the machines’ on the horizon. This study provides the foundation for what will be a deep look into new optimized, network architectures and infrastructure.”

A summary of Bell Labs’ “Quantifying IP/optical integration synergies” study is available on an Alcatel-Lucent Web page.

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