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Optical Whiteboxes from Lumentum Augments Data Centers' SDN

By Enterprise Technology Review | Monday, March 18, 2019

MILPITAS, CA: Telecommunications and networking firm, Lumentum is a manufacturer of optical and photonic products that enables optical networking and commercial laser customers worldwide. In a bid to model an ecosystem enabling SDN within data center & metro/edge DWDM transport, Lutmentum recently unveiled a new optical whitebox platform.

“SDN and programmable networks offer the promise of accelerating service turn-up and pace of innovation, with benefits throughout the value chain,” says Doug Alteen, Vice President, product line management, Telecom, Lumentum. “Optical whiteboxes are Lumentum’s contribution to the ecosystem in its collective pursuit of achieving this objective.”  

The platform fetches is a family of building blocks that supports open interfaces, simplifying the integration of whiteboxes into SDN controller/orchestrator layers. Designed for scalability, the whitebox platform supports construction of networking solutions for diverse applications based on performance and cost requirements. It allows system integrators and network operators to deploy and turn-up services. The initial products based on the SDN whitebox platform targets simple DCI applications, as well as ROADMs.

An optical whitebox consists of a terminal amplifier, Mux/Demux, line amplifier and ROADM as mentioned before. Breaking down these products, it can be analyzed that the terminal amplifier and the mux/demux form the two ends of a transport link. It supports two high-power variable gain EDFAs, OSC termination, optical channel monitor, and automatic line protection within a 1RU network element. The mux/demux, through whose associated terminal amplifier the inventory data for the device is visible, acts as the entry/exit point for data transmission channels.

The line amplifier whitebox is used to extend the system’s reach beyond the single span limit of the terminal amplifier whitebox. It combines all necessary functions to support amplification in two directions into a single 1RU network element. ON the other hand, the ROADM whitebox supports wavelength agility in meshed networks. It also supports a TrueFlex twin 1xN (9-20+) or single 1xN (2-9) wavelength selective switch, two high power variable gain EDFAs, OSC termination, and optical channel monitor within a 1RU network element.   

“SDN optical whiteboxes are another example of Lumentum partnering with customers to anticipate, construct and deliver solutions they need to fulfill the relentless demand for higher performance, higher density, and lower cost,” says Madhu Krishnaswamy, Director, product line management, Optical Communications, Lumentum. “The platform is customizable, and supports the addition of updated features for dynamic market conditions.” 

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