Optimizing IT networks through disaggregation enables deployment of better networks, expansion of rural coverage, and unlocks broader economic benefits for society
Obtaining and integrating elements from different vendors leads to lower cost fiber optic metro networks
WASHINGTON, January 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that provides services, usually over fiber optic cables, to businesses and individuals, such as databases and multimedia content. In MANs, traffic is aggregated from computer access points across a metropolitan area, spanning distances of up to 200 kilometers and establishing paths to the core of the network.
Network disaggregation allows elements of a MAN to come from different vendors and vendors. These elements are then combined with a common programming interface. With disaggregation, network operators can choose the most practical elements in terms of performance and cost, and upgrade individual components only when necessary. Ultimately, disaggregated networks could allow operators to deploy innovative network features faster and with more flexibility to support new and improved services and expand into rural markets. This network transformation also provides opportunities for additional participants in the supply chain, including the entry of new companies and new suppliers.
Jose Fabrega, from the Center Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), which was part of the team responsible for developing a MAN disaggregation approach, will discuss this in more detail at the upcoming OFC 2022 Conference and Exhibition on Sunday 06 March 13:00 – 15:30.
The research was part of the EU-H2020 PASSION project, which supports the development of future MANs with high transmission capacity, low cost and reduced energy consumption. The project focused on the network and its key elements, the transceivers and network nodes, which were developed by different partners.
Fabrega and his team demonstrated the feasibility of a disaggregated MAN by considering each relevant component. They used variable bandwidth/bit-rate transceivers, which are multi-stream programmable and allow point-to-multipoint connectivity.
“The challenge (with transceivers) is to have a cost-effective solution,” Fabrega said. “Thus, the PASSION project has developed a photonics integrated solution that involves the use of specially designed photonics integrated circuits (PICs) and vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) for the transmitter part. The receiver part relies , again, specifically on PICs designed for coherent detection.”
PICs provide a compact/embedded version of typically bulky devices, saving space and power consumption. At the same time, VCSELs offer the advantages of low cost and optical efficiency in a small footprint. VCSELs are less expensive, due to a simpler manufacturing process than traditional common semiconductor lasers. They also save energy consumption, as they need less electric current to operate.
For the network nodes, the researchers proposed a hierarchical level-dependent (HL) architecture. HLs can be visualized as concentric rings, where traffic is aggregated from lower levels to higher levels. For example, traffic from HL4 is aggregated to HL3. In turn, HL3 traffic is aggregated with HL2, and so on. Each transition means more traffic needs to be supported.
“For HL4 nodes, PASSION offers an architecture based on arrayed waveguide gratings in combination with solid-state optical amplifiers,” Fabrega said. “For higher hierarchical levels, a solution is proposed combining different types of wavelength-selective switches with innovative polymer switching stages.”
The team tested their MAN with a transmission experiment and demonstrated a capacity of 1.6 terabytes per second, which is modest compared to possible network performance but demonstrates the feasibility of the concept. In the future, the researchers believe that some of the constituent devices could be further improved to provide more flexibility.
View original content for multimedia download: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/optimizing-computer-networks-through-disaggregation-enables-deployment-of-better-networks-expansion-of-rural-coverage -and-unlocks-broader-economic-benefits-for-society-301462812.html
SOURCE Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference and Exhibition