We see things differently. So we build things differently.


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David Boisseleau

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Ciena is a global leader in optical and routing systems, services, and automation software.

We build the world’s most adaptive networks to address ever-increasing digital demands for richer, more connected experiences for all users. For three-plus decades, we’ve brought our innate sense of humanity to our relentless pursuit of innovation. We prioritize deep, collaborative relationships within our teams, and alongside our customers, partners, and communities—local and global.

The Adaptive Network is a new approach that expands on autonomous networking concepts to transform the static network into a dynamic, programmable environment driven by analytics and intelligence.

The Adaptive Network allows providers to evolve their current infrastructures into more of a communications loop that relays information from network elements, instrumentation, users, and applications to a software layer for review, analysis, and action—rather than bogging down the network itself.

The Adaptive Network includes three important layers:

  • Programmable infrastructure: This includes the network’s physical and virtual elements, as well as the telemetry gathered from them. The programmable infrastructure layer is highly intelligent and interprets data so the network can make decisions—whether that means routing traffic around a circuit that’s down or investigating and correcting an issue with latency or lower-than-expected capacity on a specific link. Programmable infrastructure requires a flexible grid; a reconfigurable photonic layer to give the ability to reroute channels of variable spectral occupancy across any path, and across any optical spectrum in the network; and telemetry from the IP layer correlated with routing data. In addition, a programmable infrastructure needs tunable coherent transponders to efficiently map a flexible number of client signals to the variable line capacity. In turn, that requires a centralized purpose-built Optical Transport Network (OTN) or packet switching architecture.

  • Analytics and intelligence: The programmable infrastructure produces significant amounts of data. Some of it is big data that indicate trends that the network learns and adjusts for over time. Big data can inform the network on how to adjust in the long term, which traffic patterns to look out for, and which parts of the network could be vulnerable. Then there’s small data—things that are happening at a fairly rapid pace. It could be a flicker on a circuit or an immediate request from a customer. Such events require a speedy response from the network, and those moves will be made by the analytics. But once the decisions have been made, a human operator or pre-defined policies could step in and approve or change things as necessary. In a truly autonomous network, there would be no operator influence at this point.

  • Software control and automation: Research shows the undisputed number one cause of network outages is human error, with estimates as high as 32 percent, according to Dimension Data’s 2014 Network Barometer report. Effective automation of network tasks, such as loading access controllers and provisioning routers, or automated calculation and configuration of TE tunnels to optimize traffic and relieve congestion, can eliminate those errors and keep the network running at peak performance. The ability for automation to work across multiple vendors is critical. Some technologies are good at working with one set of devices from a single vendor, but few networks are built on a single vendor’s gear. Networks have to interoperate, using APIs, to function efficiently and move data efficiently and swiftly from point to point.