Streamlining Optical Pipes

ATLANTA (06/08/2000) - Helping service providers navigate increasingly complex networks and quickly deploy new services, Cisco Systems Inc. and Sycamore Networks Inc. at the SuperComm show introduced software for managing optical-based networks.

Cisco announced two element management systems for optical networks, the Cisco GSR Manager and Cisco Transport Manager, which are part of the company's Internet Operations Systems Support (OSS) suite of applications. The element managers are designed to aid in the deployment and management of the 12000 line routers and the Optical Networking System (ONS) 15000 line of optical products.

The GSR Manager, which performs element management for the 12000 core routers, addresses challenges service providers face in operating large IP and MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching)-based networks, according to Cisco.

Specifically, the GSR Manager provides tools that track fault, configuration, performance, and security, which aids in troubleshooting and tracking of service level agreements, Cisco said.

In addition, the GSR Manager can integrate with a variety of network management applications to minimize network setup time and reduce operational costs, officials said.

The Cisco Transport Manager keeps tabs on the ONS 15000 series of optical transport equipment, including the ONS 15303, 15304, and 15454. The Transport Manager is intended to let service providers quickly configure and deploy optical-based services. Through a Java-based user interface, the Transport Manager can oversee as many as 1,000 network elements and as many as 100 concurrent users, Cisco said.

Cisco officials said its Transport Manager pulls together different transport elements into a single platform, which is important in provisioning real time services and managing hundreds of detailed pieces of equipment on transport networks.

The GSR Manager and Transport Manager are now in trials, with general availability set for August and June, respectively.

Also touting software for optical equipment, Sycamore announced BroadLeaf Network Operating System for its SN 16000 optical switch. The company said BroadLeaf provides a software foundation for service providers to deliver high-speed services quickly.

The network operating system uses standard optical routing and signaling protocols, such as OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) routing and MPLS signaling, combined with software to help the SN 16000 speed wavelengths across the network, Sycamore said. Officials added that this increased capacity lets service providers adjust bandwidth levels in response to user demand.

Sycamore said it uses software that glues optical components together, or "soft optics," to develop extensions to MPLS and OSPF that allow the SN 16000 to integrate the data layer with the optical layer. This capability ensures the scalability needed for rapid service provisioning, according to the company.

"Sycamore wants to bring down provisioning time [for services] from months to real time. To set up and tear down bandwidth per transaction is where we are heading," said Dan Smith, president and CEO of Sycamore. "The technology now is being used to create pipes, [but] we are moving to turn bandwidth into services that providers can use."

"BroadLeaf gives a complete view of bandwidth in the network in terms of priority that you assign it and service levels. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," Smith added.

Release date information for BroadLeaf was not available.

Cisco Systems Inc., in San Jose, Calif., is at www.cisco.com. Sycamore Networks Inc., in Chelmsford, Mass., is at www.sycamorenet.com.

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