How Smartoptics and LightRiver are enabling a new generation of disaggregated networks

Disaggregated networks have been gaining in importance, especially for service provider metro networks and enterprise DCI. By engineering open optical network solutions, Smartoptics and LightRiver have both been working hard for years to enable effective disaggregated networks. Now Smartoptics open line systems are supported in LightRiver’s optical domain orchestration and control solution, netFLEX®. Smartoptics’ network infrastructure and netFLEX will also be packaged together and resold by both companies. By creating synergies that eliminate certain barriers to wider deployment, this expanded collaboration will be a key enabler for a new generation of disaggregated networks.

What it will take to realize the opportunity of next-gen disaggregated networks

Today’s modern disaggregated network architectures have many benefits, finally making it possible for organizations to mix and match to create solutions that are completely tailored to their needs. The problem is, the larger and more complex these disaggregated networks become, the more challenging they are to manage. A case in point is “alien wavelengths.” These are signals from components and network elements made by different vendors that are not natively compatible.

Without a way to view and manage all signals in one place, you are faced with several dilemmas. If something goes wrong, how do you know which part of the infrastructure to troubleshoot and which vendor to call for support? Overcoming this opens up a new generation of open optical networking with greater productivity and less downtime.

Pairing Interoperable hardware with effective management software

Pairing Smartoptics’ easily interoperable network infrastructure solutions with LightRiver’s end-to-end network management platform netFLEX makes it possible to build and manage disaggregated networks more effectively. Now that Smartoptics open line systems are supported in netFLEX, enterprise data centers and service providers can use them with network elements from other vendors and manage them all in a single network management system.

“We see ourselves as one of the greatest proponents and early leaders in the open optical space and we respect Smartoptics for building their business and products around open optical networking as well. We are convinced that the next generation of networks will go beyond a single technology or vendor. The freedom to freely combine these and the capability to manage them with powerful automation and consolidation will be a key value driver. Our collaboration with Smartoptics is a perfect example of how we’re enabling a new generation of open optical networks,” says Dean Campbell, CTO for LightRiver.

Market-leading plug-and-play experience with end-to-end management

LightRiver designs, engineers, lab validates, commissions, and automates networks using components from best-of-breed technology suppliers. Smartoptics is one of these suppliers whose products’ ease of use and multivendor compatibility have made them a popular choice in high-profile networks sold by LightRiver in the US. These include Tier 1 network operators, large-scale content delivery networks (CDNs), and Fortune 500 market leaders in gaming and social networking.

“In our extensive lab validations, we’ve found that Smartoptics open line systems provide a market-leading plug-and-play experience – in terms of both the physical connection to the network and integration into our end-to-end visibility and management within netFLEX,” says Mike Jonas, President of Global Customer Operations for LightRiver. “They’re also readily interoperable with components from different manufacturers. This combination allows us to jointly deliver open optical networking solutions that can be managed at scale across many unique use cases to include 5G/Edge, DCI, and the latest of IP-over-DWDM with 400G ZR/ZR+.”

Complementary offerings and positions in open networking

The expansion of collaboration with LightRiver is well aligned with Smartoptics’ steady progress towards being able to serve larger, more complex networks. netFLEX is a key puzzle piece here for making Smartoptics products usable in even more network architectures. In turn, Smartoptics open line systems are used as a starting point for many of LightRiver’s interop-lab validations and turnkey deployment projects.

“We are in a growth phase with new products like our DCP-404 Muxponder and DCP-R family of ROADMs appealing to higher tier service provider metro networks. Pairing our zero-touch open line systems with LightRiver’s Alien Aware Networking™ and end-to-end management in netFLEX creates a joint offering well aligned with high-tier service provider needs. This provides the visibility, control and automation they demand, serving as an enabler for using our products in open, disaggregated networks. Given our shared open networking values, LightRiver is a natural partner for us and we look forward to making the most of our expanded collaboration,” says Kent Lidström, CTO Smartoptics.

Build your disaggregated network around Smartoptics open line systems

If you already have or would like to use network elements from multiple vendors and want to be sure they can be easily managed, Smartoptics open line systems can help. This is the best way to ensure compatibility and simplicity. Now you can also rest assured that your Smartoptics open line system will work in netFLEX, so you can easily setup a network management solution. Learn more about our portfolio of open line systems.

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