Traffic demands on optical networks are undergoing a gradual shift as video and cloud services continue to proliferate. These services are creating a significant growth in bandwidth requirements, requiring services who want to stay competitive to optimize their transport infrastructure across network layers.
Video consumption, for example, has risen significantly year-after-year. Entrepreneurs and large businesses use video to promote their products and services, making video a popular marketing tool. Most consumers have access to information that once only targeted businesses. As smartphones and tablets become more prevalent in the private sector, the numbers of platforms from which consumers can stream videos and music is expected to grow significantly. This further inflates the need for companies to adapt to their customers’ bandwidth requirements.
The explosive growth of these traffic patterns is the engine behind the need to transform optical transport networks. As consumers require greater bandwidth to meet their needs, companies are pressured to meet those needs in a way that delivers an increased quality of experience while remaining profitable.
Innovation in optical networking is therefore necessary to ameliorate that conundrum. HD/OTT video, for example, requires high-capacity, low latency transmission to ensure smooth streaming of quality content. The industry has historically met this requirement by going from telephone to cable lines, and cable to fiber optics.
Innovation continues to improve high-capacity transmission, but it’s not the final answer. As next-gen optical networks get increasingly complex, higher software intelligence is crucial to reduce complexity in service provisioning. The need for more programmable, highly automated systems is spurring further development of SDN, or Software Designed Networking, to increase versatility and reduce the manual labor required in older, static and labor-intensive systems.