Optical Network Virtualisation

For accommodating the ever increasing traffic demand, optical network will be a promising technology for future backbone network. It provide a basis for various services networks, which are overlaid on top of the optical backbone network. It will be much more difficult to anticipate traffic demand and its characteristic than today, and it is anticipated to make a service network flexible enough to cope with unexpected change of traffic demand pattern.

Network virtualization decouples the network functionality by separating traditional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) into infrastructure providers (InPs) and service providers (SPs)/tenants. The former deploy and manage the underlying physical infrastructures, and offer their resources to different SPs through programmable interfaces. The latter can create virtual networks by slicing and/or aggregating underlying network resources leased from multiple InPs.

Future Internet services are characterised by global delivery of high-performance network-based applications over a high-capacity dynamic optical network. As these types of applications evolve, it is not feasible or scalable for network operators to setup and configure dedicated network for each Internet application type or category. Therefore, a key challenge for network operators is the deployment of dynamic optical infrastructures at high data rates capable of supporting all application types, each with their own access and network resource usage patterns. Optical networks are among the idea candidates as substrate networks for network virtualisation. This is due to the novel technologies it employed, including the development of higher-capacity and programmable optical transponders; the evolution to flex-grid/elastic optical networking to provide finer grid width to improve the spectrum utilisation; traffic grooming to address the bandwidth mismatch between client demand; and high-capacity transponders.

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