Vodafone trials TIP’s Voyager optical “white box” on live network

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The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) says that Vodafone has successfully completed a live network trial in Spain with the Facebook-designed Voyager optical “white box” as part of its work with TIP.

An increased demand for data is driving the need for more scalable and cost-effective infrastructure. To solve that challenge, telecoms operators need a combination of connectivity and scalable and cost-effective fibre-based infrastructure.

Facebook has developed Voyager as an open system that uses combined packet switching and DWDM technology for metro and long-haul fiber optical transport networks. It enables a clean separation of software and hardware and is based on open specifications, so any vendor can extend it with additional components, or provide different software and features for it.

Voyager was initially contributed by Facebook to TIP, and now several companies are working together on the development of the platform.

Voyager Vodafone trial
The Voyager white box, literally. Image credit: TIP

The goal of the live trial was to showcase the future of applying a disaggregated model to optical networks and to provide more flexibility to handle the real time dynamics using Voyager, combined with an SDN controller.

The Vodafone Voyager trial utilized a network operating system developed by Cumulus Networks and NetOS ‘software designed network’ orchestration from Zeetta Networks, with the support of ADVA as one of the architects of the platform. According to TIP, the trial demonstrated how Voyager can be implemented over an existing optical infrastructure, delivering capacity of 800 Gbps per rack unit and, thanks to SDN, dynamically adapting the system modulation as fiber conditions change.

Some results of the trial include:

  • SDN-based optical commissioning (modulation, power, frequency) to 200 Gbps, 16 QAM and 100 Gbps QPSK
  • SDN-based optical real time monitoring with automatic modulation adaptation from 200 Gbps, 16 QAM to 100 Gbps, QPSK maintaining connectivity with 50% capacity of traffic in the case of optical line degradation and reverting automatically to 16QAM when the degradation was fixed
  • Upgrade of a legacy 10-Gbps based legacy WDM system with 4 x 200-Gbps wavelengths for a total of 800 Gbps of extra capacity.

“We wanted to show how Voyager’s variable-rate transceivers can be used to match speeds and modulation formats with actual line conditions,” said Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone’s group head of networks strategy and architecture. “Thanks to a streamlined network operating system and SDN automation, we showed how our live network can set up optical services and keep them running, reduce unnecessary and lengthy customer service interruptions, and improve network utilization.”

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