A central office (CO), in telecommunications, is traditionally where local lines connect the local loop. In a fiber-enabled broadband and mobile world, the traditional CO is still a critical location in the network, but takes on more of the characteristics of a datacenter (DC), acting as a key aggregation and switching location for broadband signals to continue on to the network core or to peering points for metro transport. As edge computing proliferates, and more data processing and routing takes place at the edge of the network to relieve growing network traffic demands and the need for lower network latency, we will see a need for more aggregation points closer to the edge of the network to handle some of the processing that was historically centralized in the CO. Thus, a major issue many service providers are facing today is a growing gap in transporting the new level of optical transmission from today’s CO/DC to the access Edge where these intelligent aggregation points will exist.
Because these emerging aggregation points are near the access edge, service providers are frequently discovering that they are necessary in new locations that either have never been built to house equipment before, or in existing locations that have been undersized or underscoped to accommodate intelligent aggregation equipment. Thus, a new class of environmentally hardened transport solutions capable of transporting optical data transmission through the encumbrances of temperature, as well as other environmental factors such as fog, dust, salt, earthquakes, and whatever nature may pose as a challenge to optical transport of modern bandwidth requirements. In addition, such solutions must be compact, cost-effective, and interoperable with other systems being deployed today.
The roll out of new technologies like 5G and XGS-PON for ultra high-speed broadband access is driving extraordinary bandwidth growth at the Access Edge of the network for transport functions like fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul (xHaul). This trend will only grow over time as penetration of the services derived from these technologies expands, devices that use these services proliferate, and new applications that leverage this bandwidth emerge.
Today’s 10Gbps and 25Gbps transport solutions are not architected to meet this challenge of cost effectively moving to the Access Edge. These multi-wavelength, non-coherent and hardened solutions will likely need to be replaced with 100Gbps and 400Gbps Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) to increase bandwidth over existing fiber optic backbones and service end-user bandwidth demand.
In theory, current regional and metro 100G-400G Coherent Optical DWDM solutions could deliver required bandwidths, but these boxes are often large, expensive and difficult to deploy at the Access Edge. In addition, these sophisticated solutions are limited to commercial temperature ranges. Such deployments are only seen in larger centralized offices (not local at the Access Edge) or temperature-controlled cabinets and huts – which can be costly. As a result, there is a growing transport gap at the edge of the network.
Moving from 10Gbps/25Gbps to 100Gbps/400Gbps at the Access Edge requires a solution for 100Gbps/400Gbps Coherent Optics in hardened platforms as well as other platform conditions. But current coherent optics generally do not support the needed hardening. This is a gap that must be addressed and requires a specific and carefully designed solution.
This is precisely where and when a suite of third-party product solutions can help. As a leader in broadband access networking, service assurance and cloud based WiFi experience management software solutions, DZS has been working diligently to solve this problem and bridge the Access Edge bandwidth gap for service providers by producing a viable solution from the ground up.
DZS hardened Access Edge transport solutions, with full support for 100Gbps and 400Gbps DWDM coherent optics, are part of our Saber family of solutions to help close the optical edge gap. The Saber family of products are designed to meet the rigid requirements of an outside cabinet environment. This family of products may be managed by DZS Cloud software which offers an opportunity to provide accompanying analytics about the optical transport, including health analytics, automation and tuning of the transport technology.
Each of the Saber solutions are fully hardened and built for the harsh environments of the access Edge. Extended temperature is just one important aspect of our designs. Specifically, the Saber family meets or exceeds the rugged requirements of GR-3108 OSP Class 2 specifications which includes the aforementioned conditions: salt, fog, earthquake, corrosion and dust.
This family of products is emergent, timely, disruptive and offers a real-world, cost-effective solution to a growing problem. The Saber family can be deployed close to the end customer or cell tower and into existing non-climate-controlled cabinets where access equipment, like DZS XGS-PON solutions, are already being deployed. With the Saber family, DZS is closing the access EDGE Gap.