Bandwidth Virtualization™

Bandwidth Virtualization combines the service-ready capacity offered by coherent super-channels with ubiquitous switching using OTN, MPLS or Ethernet. The result is a dramatic improvement in the flexibility and responsiveness of the optical network by decoupling the underlying physics of the optical layer from the practical need to deliver capacity between two or more locations. The advantage for the service provider is to use time as a competitive weapon, by quickly delivering differentiated services to any point in the network.

In the resources on the right hand side of this page you will see two demonstrations of the power of Bandwidth Virtualization. "2 Terabits in 12 Minutes" video shows how long haul capacity can be brought into service quickly, and the "100G in 100 Seconds" video shows how service can be turned up in seconds, anywhere in the network.

The key benefits of Bandwidth Virtualization are:

  • Flexibility for new service offerings: the service provider can offer services of different speeds, from 1 Gb/s to 100 Gb/s, with different protocols, along with value-added features such as digital protection, restoration and multicast without complex network re-engineering or re-deployments.
  • Speed of service delivery: service providers can quickly provision new bandwidth requests from end-users over a common pool of WDM bandwidth and with minimal operational or engineering complexity.
  • Capital and operational efficiency: Using end-to-end software intelligence to provision new services, operators can avoid the costly, complex and time-consuming "truck rolls," re-engineering and overbuild activities often required with conventional WDM networks.

Bandwidth Virtualization vs. Conventional DWDM Networks
In a conventional DWDM network capacity is added using analog optical transponders, or muxponders for sub-wavelength services. The lead times on these components can be surprisingly long - usually measured in weeks or even months. But even if these components were held in stock by the service provider, the design of the optical path from ingress to egress is time consuming and requires very detailed understanding of the physics of the optical domain.

Moreover the lack of sub-wavelength grooming implies that muxponders will not be filled up efficiently, leading to higher costs per wavelength – something that is often called the "Muxponder Tax."

Analog uncertainties in the conventional DWDM network mean that it resists automation by control planes such as GMPLS and Transport SDN. But a digital network technology can allow control planes to operate efficiently, and thus add intelligence to the Transport Network.

Finally, in a conventional DWDM network the support for new services, such as 40GbE and 100GbE may require a complete overhaul of the optical layer, and replacement of significant amounts of equipment.

The result for the service provider is that services are tightly coupled to the underlying wavelength in the optical network. For example a given Gigabit Ethernet or 2.5 Gb/s service is "locked inside" the 10 Gb/s wavelength that carries it. A 100GbE service is "locked" to the wavelength path that has been equipped with the appropriate regeneration to ensure that the service runs reliably.

Compared to the simplicity and efficiency of Infinera Bandwidth Virtualization, users of conventional optical networks suffer from higher costs, delayed revenue, and an overall increase in the risk associated with their business.