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Enabling fully programmable transponder white boxes [Invited]

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Abstract

There is great interest in the disaggregation of hardware and software components in the networking community. The reason is that such a strategy enables flexible solutions and achieves efficiency and cost reductions within many network scenarios. Network operators have paid attention to disaggregation because it can help maintain a profit margin as revenues decrease. Optical network deployments historically have been based on end-to-end solutions that offer little interoperability in optical components. Disaggregation enables operators to mix solutions from different vendors to create a complete design that can address the requirements of the intended network scenario. While disaggregation enables the deployment of ad hoc solutions, it worsens system complexity. The definition of software-defined network (SDN) solutions enables a standard view of the network elements so that network operators can have an end-to-end design. The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is focused on defining solutions for the telecom industry that can speed up network deployment. Within the TIP project, there are two main activities: the definition of white boxes for transport networks and an initiative called Transport Abstraction Interface (TAI). A white box is a hardware design that allows the user to install any software for network operation. On the other hand, TAI facilitates the connectivity of optical components with packet/optical platforms by providing an abstracted view of the optical components. This approach reduces the development time to integrate the components in open packet/optical systems. This paper presents different disaggregation models and their SDN architectures for providing end-to-end designs. Similarly, we present the capabilities of TAI. Finally, this work defines and demonstrates, for what we believe is the first time, a fully programmable optical white-box solution. Thus, we demonstrate how network operators can program a packet/optical white box and optical components using open solutions. This demonstration shows how open ecosystems speed up network innovation and reduce time to market.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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