Bell Labs study reveals how integrating IP and optical technologies can ease network capacity demands by 40% and reduce operational costs

Converged technologies allow for better network utilisation, cost and operational efficiencies and lays groundwork for cloud-optimised infrastructure

A study by Bell Labs, the industrial research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, has identified that network operators who use converged IP and optical transport technologies can significantly ease the burden being placed on their infrastructure by demands for capacity caused by the explosion of bandwidth-hungry applications.

The study, which is published today, looked to determine if and how converged IP/optical control integration could reduce network resource requirements without compromising service availability. This was done by comparing the relative cost of integrating and coordinating resiliency methods in both the IP routing and optical transport network. Resilience is the network’s ability to resume normal operations if a failure occurs and is an essential component of an operator’s highly reliable network.

The results show that by converging routing and optical transport technologies operators can meet the same requirements for service availability while using up to 40% less network resources, such as 100G router ports and optical transponders.

Through the study, researchers successfully uncovered the potential cost benefits using a converged operation of routing and optical transport in an integrated multilayer network model. The study shows that:

An integrated resiliency strategy saves costs while still guaranteeing network and service availability

Introducing protection for the optical layer based on GMPLS (Generalised 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 provide headroom for two years of traffic growth.

Furthermore, by establishing an integrated multi-layer control plane now, a cloud-optimised network can easily be achieved down the line. To do this, service providers can do the following:

Introduce an Agile Optical Network with a dynamic GMPLS control plane

Extend optical transport layer control to the IP routing layer with GMPLS UNI

Provide open, programmable Software Defined Network (SDN) interfaces based on open standards

The result is an integrated multi-layer network with a unified control plane, with immediate cost benefits from better network utilisation and operational efficiencies. Total cost of ownership savings may vary based on the topology size, connectivity and traffic mix.



Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs & CTO of Alcatel-Lucent said: “We are always looking for ways to help our customers maximise their network infrastructure in order to prepare for the growing demand for the digital delivery of everything, as well as to deliver the best possible experience for users and their multiple connected devices. This research underscores the innovative thinking for which Bell Labs is world-renowned, as well as how Alcatel-Lucent is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of service providers and enterprise customers.

Ben Tang, a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs said: “There is no better time than now to begin the converging of IP and optical transport. 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 optimised, network architectures and infrastructure.”



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