Ericsson and Ciena join forces on IP and optical networking

The two companies will work together on software-defined networking features

Ericsson and Ciena have signed a global agreement to develop joint transport solutions for converged IP and optical networks that also use SDN (software-defined networking) features.

The agreement is effective immediately, and product integration efforts are under way, the companies said on Friday.

Ericsson and Ciena see the deal as win-win endeavor; Ericsson will benefit from Ciena's optical products based on technologies such as WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing) and used in the backbone of carrier networks. Ericsson brings its portfolio of IP routers and Global Services organization to the table.

If the two companies are able to successfully integrate their products, they should be able to better compete with Cisco Systems and its more complete product line-up.

Collaboration will be critical for carriers to be able to build more flexible networks that take advantage of SDN features and dynamically handle changing demands from applications and services with less manual work. The aim is to lower total cost of ownership and allow carriers to roll out new services faster, according to a joint statement.  

As part of this agreement, Ericsson will sell Ciena's Converged Packet Optical portfolio, including the 6500 and 5400 families.

Ericsson and Ciena are both members of OpenDaylight, a project that was started in April last year to develop an open-source framework for SDN and the related Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) concept, which will make it possible for carriers to virtualize their networks. The framework is called Hydrogen, and the first version was released earlier this month.

Anyone can download the Hydrogen code for free, but what real-world impact it will have remains to be seen. At the time of the release, Ericsson said it plans to use OpenDaylight code as part of its larger SDN offering, but didn't offer any details. The Swedish company has also announced a lab at its San Jose facility for testing OpenDaylight implementations.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Topics: Ericsson, networking hardware, Carriers, telecommunication, Networking, Ciena
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