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Juniper and TIP: Driving Open and Disaggregated Packet-Optical Transport

by Juniper Employee ‎10-31-2016 03:41 PM - edited ‎03-21-2017 03:01 PM

On November 1 and 2, Juniper will join a growing community of content and cloud operators, telecom service providers and technology vendors participating in the inaugural Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP) Summit. Similar to the goals of Open Compute Project in the IT world, TIP’s mission is to explore new approaches to building hyper-scale telecom networks—in particular, to accelerate innovation through the power of open network architectures.

One of the TIP projects in which Juniper is taking a leadership role is Open Optical Packet Transport, an initiative to disrupt the status quo of optical system vendor lock-in by defining an open, packet-optical transport architecture. At the TIP Summit, Juniper will discuss its latest work on this project—and demonstrate a number of new innovations—with customers and partners across the telecom infrastructure value chain.

The TIP Summit arrives at a critical juncture in the evolution of packet-optical transport architecture. Rapid growth of cloud services and content, coupled with increasing global distribution of data centers, is driving operators of all kinds to rethink network architecture and reassess how network capacity and services are activated and managed. Many of the largest global network operators are now articulating the need to migrate away from closed, proprietary optical systems to an open and disaggregated packet-optical transport layer.

As operators seek greater value from the optical value chain, including the flexible deployment and control of best-of-breed components matched to their application needs, the challenges of the proprietary environment that dominates today’s transport networks are increasingly clear:


  • Management and control layer silos: With every optical vendor solution there is an element management system that controls the vendor’s domain. Inevitably the result is an amalgam of management and control silos that make automating or streamlining service provisioning and network resource activation prohibitively complex
  • Inadequate programmability: Many optical vendor systems still do not support open, standards-based APIs such as those based on REST, NETCONF and YANG. Operators are still bound to CLI and legacy management protocols such as TL1 in large portions of their networks, limiting the ability to program transport networks according to application demands from an open, centralized SDN control layer
  • Lack of interoperability: Photonic layer interoperability still lags the packet domain and is therefore an impediment to deploying best-of-breed optical components in a disaggregated model. In addition to TIP, initiatives such as Open ROADM and the DT Terastream interop projects demonstrate the need for more progress towards standards-based optical line-side interoperability


Working in close collaboration with its customers and partners, Juniper’s vision is to overcome these challenges by embracing open, disaggregated packet-optical transport networks managed and controlled in a multi-layer, multi-vendor SDN framework. Of course, most vendors acknowledge increasing demand for open optical networks, but these same vendors have massive installed bases of closed terminals and line systems that represent critical future revenue and profits. In contrast, Juniper is operating with a clean slate, ready to help operators embrace disaggregation and openness today or when it best suits them.

At TIP Summit we will discuss our progress towards enabling a flexible, programmable and interoperable ecosystem of packet-optical functions, sharing our perspective on the following topics:


  • Enabling best-of-breed: By opening up the line system, disaggregating line system functions from coherent transceivers, and advancing line-side interoperability, operators can more easily deploy digital signaling processors (DSPs) with performance characteristics and features that best match their network needs. At Juniper we are bringing solutions to market with this design goal in mind, helping eliminate vendor lock-in and affording operators greater supply chain diversity and control. We are working with TIP ecosystem partners like Lumentum to make interoperable, best-of-breed solutions a reality for our customers
  • Driving automation: Operators want to replicate the level of automation achieved in the data center server environment, where virtual machines and containers can be spun up and down instantly and intelligently, to the packet-optical transport network, where services and capacity need to be activated on demand. At TIP Summit we will share our vision of how JUNOS-based automation, SDN control and (recently acquired) BTI Systems assets are combining to help drive new levels of packet-optical convergence and network automation
  • Optimizing across layers: Hyper-scale cloud networks and global internet backbones can no longer afford the inefficiency and stranded network resources that result from operationally distinct packet and optical transport domains. By integrating NorthStar Controller, proNX Network Manager and other software tools—while embracing microservices-based design principles—Juniper is helping customers gain visibility across the photonic layer to Layer 3 and optimizing LSP and optical link utilization and protection


As the cloud era accelerates, telecom infrastructure will embrace openness, automation and dynamic use of network resources to maximize application performance. Along with other industry initiatives, Telecom Infrastructure Project is helping drive these attributes into packet-optical transport architecture. With increasing investment in optical research and development, combined with proven leadership in switching, routing and network automation, Juniper stands ready to collaborate with network operators and technology partners to build the next generation of packet-optical transport networks.


Join us at TIP Summit November 1 and 2 to learn more about our plans!

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About the Author
  • I started work at a router company, moved to an optical company adding MPLS, moved to mobility company, moved to a packet optical company who got bought by a router company. Full Circle!!
  • David is a Distinguished Engineer in Juniper's Optical Engineering team, having joined Juniper as part of the acquisition of WANDL Inc in January 2014. David is working on routing and optimisation software for multilayer networks to help plan and design networks using the new generation of packet-optical technology from Juniper. In "previous lives", David worked on soliton propagation; diffractive optic device design and network design software and algorithms in the Optics Research Group in BT's Adastral Park Laboratories in Ipswich. He holds a BA and PhD in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.
  • Steven Keck is a Distinguished Engineer within Juniper's Optical Engineering team where he is responsible for architecture and implementation of packet-optical solutions for routing and switching platforms. Steve has been designing telecom hardware and optical systems for nearly 20 years. Prior to Juniper, he has held positions at Stanford Telecom, StrataLight Communications and Cisco Systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from University of the Pacific.
  • David Song is a Sr Staff Engineer within Juniper's Optical Engineering team where he is responsible for the design of packet-optical solutions for routing and switching platforms. He joined Juniper in 2004 and has been designing networking software in control plane and data plane on various platforms. Prior to Juniper, he held various software development positions at Ciena and Nortel Networks.