Transponders and Muxponders: Important Elements in an Optical Transport Network

Transponders and muxponders are important elements in an optical transport network. Transponders are used to enable point-to-point connections over long distances when the client rate matches the optical wavelength. In cases where the client rates are lower than the optical wavelength, a muxponder is used to multiplex multiple sub-rate clients onto the line interface.

Data centers are being deployed closer to the edge of the network to improve performance for content delivery and the internet of things. As data center operators expand their geographical footprint, transponders and muxponders are deployed for data centers interconnectivity.

The DIGI device is a high-capacity, multi-rate, fully channelized single-chip OTN processor optimized for transponders, muxponders, and Data Center Interconnect (DCI) optical transport platforms in a multi-service and multi-reach network environment.

An alternative solution to implementing transponders and muxponders are FPGAs, but these require multiple boot images to support different client types and cannot support in-field software upgrades (meaning live traffic is impacted when new features are added to the card).

For ECI to meet their customers’ requirements, they used the DIGI family of devices to implement transponders and muxponders as a single device to support multiple client types. The DIGI has a single software platform that is a carrier-grade SDK and supports hitless upgrades. Thus, ECI’s customers can add new features without impacting traffic. Furthermore, the DIGI device supports full bi-directional Performance Monitoring (PMON) along with per port link layer discovery protocol (LLDP) capabilities, enabling an automated discovery of router-to-transport connections. This gives the SoftwareDefined Network (SDN) controllers used in data centers an efficient and accurate view of the optical transport layer and eliminates the need to manually maintain static connectivity tables.

Read the full case study on Optical Transport Networking (OTN) Processors.

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