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ROADMS are Red Hot

Cats

The title above is a variation on a comment from a story that came out last winter about JDSU and its success in optical networking, but I couldn’t resist as the market for ROADMs continues to speed along.

In May, Infonetics published a report projecting that ROADMs will top 20 percent growth by 2015, making them the fast-growing segment in the optical communications transport industry.

JDSU offers the most comprehensive ROADM portfolio and is constantly working with customers on the next big thing, so I thought it made sense to share a ROADM scenario for readers that don’t understand what ROADMs are or how they work. How ROADMs Support an On Demand World ROADM stands for Reconfigurable Optical Add Drop Multiplexer – that word would win you major points in a game of Scrabble – and it is a component that makes it possible for network operators to flexibly add or drop capacity in a network.

Let’s say for example, the Superbowl is in Pittsburgh and lots of fans in both PA and WI choose to watch it online. This would create increased bandwidth demands in particular parts of the network during the game. Operators would have to expand and reroute traffic to ensure that the broadcast arrives onto viewers’ Internet-connected devices in an uninterrupted way. But it gets much more unpredictable than that.

Breaking news videos and the latest social media phenomena (like cat videos) also drive people to connect online, so networks have to be ready to support big traffic increases at a moment’s notice. This demand is going to keep skyrocketing as the world becomes even more connected and networks are going to have to keep getting faster and more agile to support it.

There are many types of ROADMs that support different parts of the network. There are ones that support  the network core and require a more sophisticated configuration or that get integrated into other products, and there are simpler and smaller ROADMs increasingly being deployed further to the edge of networks, or closer to where people are accessing the Internet from their offices or homes. Last year, JDSU introduced the Self Aware Network that represents where optical networks are headed in the future.

They will become even more intelligent and self-monitoring, with advanced software and flexible components like ROADMs that allow network traffic to travel more freely and at  blazing fast speeds. These networks will need less manual involvement from humans to operate, which may sound a little creepy, but really it frees up operators to focus more of their efforts on strategic stuff, instead of day-to-day network management. ROADMs that are deployed in networks today aren’t being utilized to anywhere near their maximum ability –  but this will change as networks continue evolve.

A JDSU Perspective

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