ADTRANPacket optical transport is finding its way closer to the network edge, as an announcement today from Adtran illustrates.

Adtran’s new product is the Total Access 5004 ONE – a compact high-density platform designed to aggregate a mix of traffic types at the edge of carrier networks.  The product can use either packet optical or carrier Ethernet to transport multiple traffic types on a single wavelength within a DWDM network, explained Adtran executives in an interview.

For Ethernet traffic, carrier Ethernet is often the preferred approach, but for other types of traffic – including Sonet and Fiber Channel – network operators may prefer packet optical, the Adtran execs said. The “fronthaul” connection that extends antennas farther out from a cell tower also is well suited to packet optical transport, noted Kurt Raaflaub, senior manager of carrier networks and product marketing for Adtran.

The Total Access 5004 ONE delivers up to 36 10-Gbps Ethernet or optical transport networking (OTN) ports, Adtran said. (The terms “OTN” and “packet optical” are often used interchangeably.) Carriers can change the service delivered on a Total Access 5000 ONE port by changing a card. The product also has a mini ROADM and can be migrated to 100G networking in the future, said the manufacturer.

Adtran has had products supporting carrier Ethernet and packet optical capabilities in the past. But what makes the 5004 ONE different is that it is designed to be installed close to the network edge – even in outdoor environments. To support this capability, the product has a dense circuit board, comes in a ruggedized housing and has a two rack unit (RU) form factor.

“It enables extending packet optical to the edge,” explained Mano Nachum, product line manager for optical solutions for Adtran. “It can be [in] a multi-tenant business building . . . or at a cellsite aggregation site. Once there, you can have not only a ring but a multiple ring and mesh topology.”

The 5004 ONE could be thought of as an OTN multi-service provisioning platform (MSPP) on a blade, Nachum noted. “You can mix Sonet on a wavelength and add and drop where you need to without terminating other services.”

The product can support residential and business services as well as cloud computing and latency-sensitive applications requiring strict service level agreements, Adtran said. For example, the product could be used to support a business customer that might need a mixture of Sonet and Ethernet services. Alternatively it could aggregate connections from multiple residential broadband customers, while also carrying traffic for a cellsite located in the same neighborhood.

“You would want residential [traffic] on one wavelength and cellular on another and they can never trounce on each other,” explained Raaflaub.

Adtran expects to see the 5004 ONE deployed by a wide range of service providers. Smaller Tier 3 carriers may be particularly interested in the offering because “they don’t have the time and money to have a bunch of overlay parallel networks,” said Nachum.


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