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November 14, 2022

NTT starts an Open APN PoC jointly with global optical product vendors, conducts a field test of on-demand wavelength connection technologies,
beefs up its capability of developing photonics-electronics devices

Summary

  • NTT Corporation (NTT), in collaboration with Ciena Corporation (Ciena), Fujitsu Limited (Fujitsu), and NEC Corporation (NEC), will conduct n joint PoC of Open APN1 defined by the IOWN Global Forum (IOWN GF)2.
  • NTT has developed on-demand wavelength connection3 technologies and will conduct a field test of it to expand the application areas of APN.
  • NTT will beef up its capability of developing photonic-electronic convergence devices by welcoming fJscaler Inc..as a subsidiary of NTT Electronics Corporation (NTT Electronics)

Background

As society becomes increasingly information-oriented and AI and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are incorporated into our daily lives, the amount of data handled has been increasing rapidly and data centers often reach their capacity limit, making the users connect new data centers with existing ones frequently.

Besides, robot-assisted surgery systems have started gaining traction. The operators of such systems want to make them remotely operable so that they can train more surgeons and save more people. However, this requires high-speed and low-latency network connections.

Addressing the above demands, IOWN GF released in January 2022 Open All Photonics Network (APN) Functional Architecture, which defines the functional architecture of a new network that creates high-speed and low-latency connections between communication endpoints, which may be data centers or hospitals, leveraging optical transport and switching technologies.

Figure 1. Overview of Open APN and use cases Figure 1. Overview of Open APN and use cases

Open APN Joint PoC

The network nodes defined in the Open APN Functional Architecture can be made from the Open ROADM MSA4 's standard components, which are available from global optical product vendors such as Ciena, Fujitsu, and NEC. To prove the viability and operability of Open APN, NTT will conduct a PoC jointly with Ciena, Fujitsu, NEC, and other companies in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022. The PoC will validate wavelength connection creation/deletion functions and evaluate the performance of optical communications in terms of throughput, delay, and jitter.

The PoC should prove that Open APN is implementable and operable with products already available in the global market and encourage many organizations in the world to build and implement Open APN.

Field Test of On-Demand Wavelength Connection Technologies

While today's ROADM products are designed to create optical connections between telecommunication carrier's sites, an Open APN creates connections between any endpoints, which may be customer sites. This difference leads to the need for new functions as listed below (Figure 2):

Figure 2. Functional requirements for on-demand wavelength connections between user sites Figure 2. Functional requirements for on-demand wavelength connections between user sites

  1. (1)Function for automatically designing and provisioning wavelength connections that satisfy service requirements by cooperation and coordination of terminals deployed in user sites and carrier equipment, and functions for selecting the best transmission mode, etc.
  2. (2)Function for configuring and managing optical wavelength end points of terminals deployed in user sites and function for passing and blocking optical signals in carrier equipment based on the authentication status of each terminal
  3. (3)Function for adapting different types of optical fibers to be connected in the same optical wavelength5

NTT has developed the above functions and started a field test in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The test should validate their operability under various conditions such as fiber length and loss levels in a real environment. As the test will also utilize the outcome from Open ROADM MSA and Telecom Infra Project Open Optical & Packet Transport6, the test should demonstrate how the outcomes from the three organizations can be combined to build open and disaggregated infrastructures.

NTT intends to reflect the findings from the field test to the future versions of IOWN GF Open APN Functional Architecture.

Renforcement of photonics-electronics devices development capabilities

To promote high-capacity, low-latency, and energy-efficient communications with APN, NTT will reinforce its capabilities of developing photonic-electronic convergence devices for products including optical transceivers. As part of these efforts, NTT Electronics has made "fJscaler Inc." (Oregon, USA), a company with extensive experience in high-performance analog integrated circuit design7,.its subsidiary. In the future,

Prospects

Future APNs will be capable of managing optical communication resources in cooperation with radio communication systems including 5G and beyond 5G. With NTT's continuing efforts together with IOWN GF members, APN will be the infrastructure for future societies, enabling high-capacity, low-latency, energy-efficient communications for both fixed and mobile.

1An innovative network based on photonics technology whose architecture is being openly developed at IOWN GF.
https://www.rd.ntt/iown/Open other window

2A new industry forum that promotes the realization of a new communication infrastructure consisting of all-photonics networks including silicon photonics, edge computing, and wireless distributed computing through the development of new technologies, frameworks, technical specifications, and reference designs to meet the data and information processing demands of the coming era.
https://iowngf.org/Open other window

3A connection using a specific wavelength between optical transceivers. By occupying wavelengths between optical transceivers, low-latency and high-capacity communication are possible.

4A Multi-Service Agreement that defines the interfaces and specifications that allow ROADM (Re­-configurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer) systems to interoperate between vendors.
http://openroadm.org/Open other window

5A function for connecting multiple optical fibers with different wavelength bands without electrical conversion while remaining in the wavelength connection.

6A project aimed at defining open technologies, architectures, and interfaces in optical and IP networks.
https://telecominfraproject.com/oopt/Open other window

7https://www.ntt-electronics.com/en/news/2022/11/investment_in_fJscaler.htmlOpen other window

About NTT

NTT believes in resolving social issues through our business operations by applying technology for good. An innovative spirit has been part of our culture for over 150 years, making breakthroughs that enable a more naturally connected and sustainable world. NTT Research and Development shares insights, innovations, and knowledge with NTT operating companies and partners to support new ideas and solutions. Around the world, our research laboratories focus on artificial intelligence, photonic networks, theoretical quantum physics, cryptography, health and medical informatics, smart data platforms, and digital twin computing. As a top 5 global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse teams operate in 80+ countries and regions and deliver services to over 190 of them. We serve over 80% of Fortune Global 100 companies and thousands of other clients and communities worldwide. For more information on NTT, visit https://www.rd.ntt/e/Open other window.

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