Is Your Network Visibility Solution Prepared for OTN?

Rise of OTN Networks

Network operators are constantly being challenged to provide additional bandwidth to meet massive consumer traffic growth. Today’s long haul and metro networks are rapidly evolving to support data center expansion, public and private cloud adoption, preparation for broader introduction of 4K video and emerging virtual reality (VR) applications. Meanwhile, operators are forced to address these challenges while optimizing the transport costs per bit and introducing more efficient ways to offer these next-generation services.

Operators are staying ahead of the bandwidth curve by deploying new core and metro packet optical transport network architectures combining DWDM, OTN and packet switching technologies. The Optical Transport Network (OTN), defined in ITU G.709 and commonly called “digital wrapper”, is a next-generation, industry-standard protocol providing an efficient and globally accepted way to multiplex services onto optical wavelengths for transport typically over DWDM networks. OTN technology allows network operators to converge networks through seamless transport of numerous types of legacy protocols including SONET/SDH, while also providing the flexibility required to support emerging protocols. Infonetics estimates annual spending on OTN deployments will triple from just 2013 to 2019.

Infonetics OTN Market

OTN Monitoring Challenges

The rapid deployment of OTN transport gear has created challenges for those responsible for monitoring and intercepting network traffic. OTN’s multiplexing capabilities place a heavy burden on existing network visibility solutions; these solutions must be able to access OTN networks and extract traffic of interest so that existing high-cost Ethernet based analytic tools or probes can continue to be leveraged.  For example, a 100G OTU-4 signal can be comprised of many different tributaries including lower order OTN tributaries (ODU3/2/2e/1/0) ranging in bandwidth from 1.25Gbps up to 40Gbps as well as fully channelized SONET/SDH signals carried over the OTN tributaries.

Network monitoring equipment may be required to find an analog voice traffic in a DS0 timeslot carried over a 10G OC-192/STM-64 signal embedded in an OTN ODU2 tributary multiplexed up into a 100G OTU-4 transport signal on a DWDM network.  This represents a high-level of traffic multiplexing that causes havoc on any network monitoring system.

OTU4 Multiplex

Network Visibility Solutions for OTN Networks

NetQuest has welcomed the challenge of accessing OTN networks and is providing comprehensive network visibility solutions that make access to complex OTN networks simple.  NetQuest’s I-9100 Interceptor product line supports 100G, 40G and 10G OTN networks and can extract traffic of interest for output over standard 10G Ethernet interfaces.  The I-9100 solution includes additional traffic aggregation, filtering, load balancing, replication and other critical packet processing functions.

I-9100 OTN Visibility