DriveNets, Ciena Team Up for Cost-Effective 400G Solutions

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  April 04, 2024

The telecommunications industry is witnessing a growing trend toward disaggregated networking, a model that separates hardware and software components traditionally bundled within proprietary network equipment. This approach offers service providers greater flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency in building their networks.

Among the companies spearing the initiative is DriveNets, a provider of cloud-native software for disaggregated routing.

DriveNets modernizes the way service providers, cloud providers and hyperscalers build networks, thus streamlining network operations, increasing network performance at scale and improving their economic model. DriveNets' solutions – Network Cloud and Network Cloud-AI – adapt the architectural model of hyperscale cloud to telco-grade networking and support any network use case – from core-to-edge to AI networking – over a shared physical infrastructure of standard white-boxes. This simplifies the network's operations and offers telco-scale performance and reliability with hyperscale elasticity.

In more recent news, DriveNets announced the successful completion of testing and certification for multiple Ciena's 400G coherent pluggable transceivers with its Network Cloud platform. This collaboration marks a leap forward in network efficiency and scalability because it offers a solution for service providers fighting with increasing bandwidth demands.

The key to this advancement lies in the deep integration between DriveNets Network Operating System, or DNOS, and Ciena's WaveLogic 5 Nano, or WL5n, coherent pluggables. Going beyond mere physical compatibility, DNOS now offers comprehensive support for these transceivers. This translates to seamless configuration, real-time monitoring and efficient troubleshooting capabilities for Ciena's technology, directly within the DriveNets Network Cloud environment.

Additionally, DNOS unlocks the full potential of WL5n by supporting various operational modes, including 400ZR, ZR+ and even higher-performance options.

ZR and ZR+ are types of high-speed data transmission modules used in data centers and networks. ZR is designed for shorter distances (80km-120km) within metro data centers, handles just 400 Gigabit Ethernet traffic and has lower power.

ZR+ offers longer reach (400km-1000+ km), supports multiple data rates and client signals, comes with higher power for complex networks and is compatible with ROADM (News - Alert) systems for more flexible configurations. ZR+ is basically an umbrella term for various high-performance modules exceeding the limitations of basic ZR.

"Today's announcement is another step in the growing adoption of disaggregated networking solutions," said Dudy Cohen, Vice President of Product Marketing at DriveNets. "Operators are looking for open solutions that allow them to mix and match elements from multiple vendors as well as reduce the number of networks they need to support. The converged IP/Optical solution enabled by this announcement delivers on both goals.”

This integrated solution delivers a multitude of benefits for service providers seeking to optimize their networks. By collapsing Layer-1 to Layer-3 communications onto a single platform, DriveNets Network Cloud with Ciena's 400G optics simplifies network architecture significantly. This streamlined approach eliminates the need for complex, multi-layered configurations.

Furthermore, the adoption of 400ZR and ZR+ pluggable optics offers substantial cost savings. Traditional network architectures often require separate optical transponders to convert electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa. These transponders add to the physical footprint of the network, increase power consumption, and contribute to higher operational expenses. By leveraging the integrated nature of Ciena's technology within DriveNets Network Cloud, service providers can eliminate the need for separate transponders. This translates to a smaller network footprint, reduced power consumption and lower operational costs.

"Ciena continues to innovate and give our customers greater choice in how they create open and robust networks, without compromise," said Joe Shapiro, Vice President, Product Line Management, Ciena. "The combined solution – a converged IP/Optical white box – can achieve longer unregenerated reaches while also being simple to manage, resulting in improved cost and operational efficiencies."

This collaboration between industry leaders represents a step forward for open, disaggregated networking solutions. Future plans include standards-based integration with Ciena's Navigator Network Control Suite for enhanced visibility and optimization of the optical infrastructure.

Edited by Alex Passett
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