Since 2012 hyperscale data center operators have enjoyed the benefits of the bare metal/whitebox revolution that has taken place in networking. Nearly a quarter of all switches now shipped are bare-metal and that does not include the brite boxes (bare-metal rebranded like HPE and Dell) in that figure. It has become easier to automate, scale, provision our data centers, not to mention the reduced CAPEX and OPEX.
Since 2016 and the foundation of TIP (Telecom infra Project), along with the OCP and ONF, open networking has aimed to address some fundamental problems within the telecommunications service provider domain. These networks, built over decades using a multitude of different and complex proprietary equipment, have been more than happy to embrace open networking and work with hardware and software vendors alike.
In the short space of 4 years a raft of hardware and software is now available with more appearing on a near weekly basis. Today I will look a little deeper at 5 pieces of hardware and the software vendors that are working in the production networks of companies like AT&T, Comcast, Deutsche Telecom, Telefonica, and many more.
Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG)
Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG) is an open network cell site gateway device from Edgecore networks based on an open and disaggregated architecture for existing 2G/3G/4G and future 5G mobile infrastructures. DCSG is a 1RU fully featured cell site router with a wide range of Ethernet connectivity options for client and network sides. As a cell site gateway, DCSG supports Layer-2, Layer-3 and MPLS features - with native time synchronization protocols such as IEEE-1588 v2 and Synchronous Ethernet for the mobile base stations. Software is now available from multiple sources including IP Infusion, Infinera, and Volta Networks.
Optical Line Terminals (OLT’s)
The ASXvOLT16 is a 16-10G-port XGS-PON virtual Optical Line Terminal (vOLT) with 4 x 100G/40G QSFP28 ﬁxed ports. The 10G ports, 100G uplink ports, and console/management USB ports are all on the front panel. All 10G ports operate at wire-speed by default and support standard XGS-PON transceivers. This is used in the ONF’s SEBA pod to provide residential and enterprise broadband access and is in field trials with multiple major carriers. There are open software options as well as commercial software from IP Infusion.
Cassini Optical Packet Transponder
The Cassini packet transponder from Edgecore Networks enables network operators to easily extend and migrate existing metro and long-haul Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) networks to add new 100G capacities and extend inter-data center and Layer 3 services.
The Cassini is a 1.5RU form factor with system throughput of 3.2Tbps based on Broadcom StrataXGS Tomahawk Plus switch silicon. The Cassini design offers sixteen ﬁxed 100 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP28 ports, plus eight linecard slots to incorporate a ﬂexible mix of additional 100GbE ports or ACO/DCO optical ports based on coherent DSP and optical transceivers from leading optical technology partners. The Cassini successfully passed field trials in Peru in 2019 reaching distances or 600 kms for 200G and 1,200 kms over 100G. Again, open source software available in SONiC and commercial offerings from IP Infusion.
Edge and Aggregation Router
With the introduction of 5G mobile networks, carrier and cloud service providers are planning to upgrade their network infrastructure to address the major growth in bandwidth driven by new innovative services and the increased number of users. Edgecore's solution based on Broadcom StrataDNX family chipsets with Deep Buffer design, providing a white-box platform that serves a variety of use cases, including core, metro, and aggregation routers. There are multiple options here depending on your network requirements. The AS5912-54X is a data center and service provider edge switch, again used in multiple CORD projects from the ONF and the AS5916-54XKS which is a 10/100G edge router. Commercial and open source options for NOS include Cumulus Linux, IP Infusion, ONL and Volta Networks.
Whitebox switches are now providing a cheaper and more agile option for the world’s carriers. A full range of switches from 1G to 400G is available. These switches are used in ONF projects to create fabric spine and leaf topologies within the central office. One such project is Trellis which is in operation in Comcast's production network. Most carriers will already be very familiar with these types of switches as they have been using them in their data centers for some time. To the right is a 10G bare metal switch using a Trident II+ chip from Broadcom. There is a myriad of options for software here both open source and commercial. One of my previous blogs looked at these in detail if you require more reading.
That’s all for this month folks. Next month we will take a look at the minefield that is software for the carrier market, both commercial and open source. I will also show how the software and the products above together and creating end to end solutions with the help of the ONF and TIP. For more information on these products and services related to Open Networking come check out our website at www.epsglobal.com.
Slán go fóill,