This year’s NGON and DCI Europe conference in Nice saw the launch of Wave2Wave Solution's new Connectivity as a Service (CaaS) offering, which has been developed to help operators more efficiently automate the physical layer.
The new CaaS service extends software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities to the physical layer, which will allow operators to manage the entire network stack from a single interface. Based on a monthly ‘pay-as-you-grow’ model – where patching physical cables can take as little as 20 seconds – CaaS is scoped for data centre and telco pre-production labs, where physically hauling cables is a bottleneck for service rollout.
The service is based around the company's ROME robotic fibre optic switch and as the first stage of its new initiative, the company will install and manage ROME, in data centre and telco lab environments, for which customers will pay a fixed monthly fee equal to $10 per duplex fibre connection.
Commenting on the launch, David Wang, president and CEO at Wave2Wave said: ‘Lack of automation at the physical layer is a 20-year old problem that impacts every network everywhere in the world. By automating the configuration of the network physical infrastructure – and by making this service available on a cloud-like basis – we are accelerating change and innovation in data centre and telco networks, especially when it comes to new service rollouts.’
Fibre Systems met with Wang, and recently appointed director for Europe, Duncan Ellis on the company’s stand at NGON, where visitors could watch a demonstration of the robotic fibre switch in action. Discussing the move towards automation from network operators, and the new service, Wang said: ‘Change is not easy, but we are here to help make that change, taking a chunk of the responsibility away from customers.’
‘We are getting interest from two levels,’ added Ellis, ‘the “I didn’t know about that,” and the “that’s just what I need!” It’s about educating people on the art of the possible.’ On some the driving factors toward network automation, Ellis cited the current gap in skills as a concern for some customers. ‘The workforce is ageing,’ he pointed out, ‘and when it comes to SDH, people are not getting trained now.’ But equally, Wave2Wave was quick to assure that this is not designed to eliminate human roles, but rather, as Ellis put it ‘to take away the drudgery and make more fulfilling jobs.’
Ellis has previously spoken to Fibre Systems about the increased focus on automation from network operators, and how the physical layer has been resisting the move (see The final frontier).