Vodafone drank Facebook's network Kool-Aid … and LIVED!

White boxes, multi-coloured light, 800 Gbps and backhoe-proofing, thanks in part to Zuck

Vodafone has become the latest carrier to white-box its optical traffic.

The trial, which Voda has declared a success, is a handy bit of validation for Facebook, whose Voyager packet-optical switches try and take on one of the toughest segments of networking.

“The goal of the live trial was to showcase the future of applying a disaggregated model to optical networks and to provide more flexibility to handle the real time dynamics using Voyager, combined with a Software Defined Network (SDN) controller”, Vodafone says in its blog post.

Cumulus Networks provided its operating system used for the trial, Zeetta Networks its NetOS SDN orchestrator, and optical networking company ADVA also took part in the demo.

The multi-vendor love-in delivered 800 Gbps per rack unit, Vodafone says, with the SDN orchestration “dynamically adapting the system modulation as fibre conditions change.”

The SDN platform provided optical commissioning of 200 Gbps channels, including giving admins control over modulation, power, and wavelengths. The modulation schemes used in the trial included 16 QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) and 100 Gbps QPSK (quadrature phase shift keying).

The realtime monitoring allowed the participants to test auto modulation adaption between 200 Gbps over 16 QAM to 100 Gbps with QPSK modulation. In a “live” network, that would let the system maintain 50 per cent traffic throughput if there's degradation on the optical channel, returning to higher speeds when conditions improve.

Down at Layer One, the system upgraded a 10 Gbps-based Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) system to 800 Gbps in the form of four 200 Gbps wavelengths.

In ADVA's version of the blog post, the company's Stephan Rettenberger emphasised this recovery capability, because with current systems line degradation can be as bad as putting a backhoe through a cable.

“BER degradation results in the type of outage you’d expect from a total loss of light on optical fibres,” Rettenberger said in the ADVA post. “Voyager’s variable transmission speed and modulation completely negate avoidable outages.”

Cumulus Networks' post added Celestica (hardware), Broadcom (ASICs), and Acacia (optics) to the list of participants in the trial. ®

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