contact button

TIP Project Phoenix Getting Some Lift in 2021

portrait of Tim Doiron

December 22, 2020
By Tim Doiron
Sr. Director, Solution Marketing

In July, 2020 the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) project group announced the selection of Infinera as one of six vendors to participate in a new disaggregated optical transponder collaboration, dubbed Phoenix.

As 2020 winds down, the project Phoenix team is preparing for Phase 1 testing to begin after the first of the year.  Utilizing a combination of global TIP community and service provider labs, Infinera and other participants are configuring and preparing to perform interoperability testing in multi-vendor environments where disaggregated transponders/muxponders from one vendor are configured and run over another vendor’s optical line system.

In Infinera’s case, we are supplying software and networking equipment including our Transcend SDN Controller, GX series of compact modular transponder/muxponders and FlexILS optical line system.

While this is only Phoenix’s first step, it is an important one that will help establish a multi-vendor baseline in a highly controlled environment with pre-determined use-cases and test plans.  In addition, the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) and configuration protocols like NETCONF can be utilized along with common YANG-based data models.  Streaming telemetry like gRPC/gNMI can be used for transmission and collection of performance management (PM) data.

Infinera is a strong supporter of open and disaggregated solutions across multiple product categories.  In addition to supporting open optical networking and project Phoenix, Infinera is also an active participant and leading commercial vendor of disaggregate cell site gateway (DCSG) solutions for 4G/5G IP/MPLS mobile transport– another TIP sponsored project.

While a disaggregated routing solution like DCSG looks different than  disaggregated, open optical networking, they share similar goals. As a vendor and an industry ecosystem, we are always looking at ways to increase performance and value for service providers.  As different product categories mature, they present their own unique opportunities for disaggregation – where one piece of the solution may benefit from being separated from a tightly integrated whole.

In the case of DCSG, the ability to separate the underlying packet processing hardware from the network operating system (NOS) software has the potential to broaden the types of hardware devices available from multiple sources while also enabling consistent operational behavior with a common NOS.

With multiple vendors delivering a variety of white box hardware in modular pizza-box form-factors with self-contained power and cooling and virtual backplane interconnects for stacking, the DCSG model also enables faster deployment of next-generation packet processing silicon – resulting in a reduced price per bit.

In the case of optical networking, disaggregating the transponder/muxponder function from the optical line system and utilizing well-defined open interfaces such as OpenConfig and OpenROADM means that the pace of optical engine innovation and the associated transponder/muxponder functionality can be accelerated while enabling broader industry deployment as these modules can be utilized over another vendor’s optical line system.

Like packet silicon in disaggregated routing, next-generation optical engines can be inserted into an open optical networking environment more rapidly.  In both routing and optical networking by disaggregating portions of the networking solution we can achieve three similar goals: accelerate the pace of innovation, enable more choice, and optimize economics.

As with all TIP initiated projects, we don’t know exactly where Phoenix will land.  However, the journey has begun.  Project Phoenix and open optical networking are exciting areas to pay attention to in 2021.