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Era of Innovation: Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 Makes Building DCI Networks Easier for Enterprises


In the 1970s, the emergence of Personal Computers (PCs) changed the IT industry forever. Before 1970, only computing professionals had regular access to computers, and their applications were limited to scientific research for the military. The combination of high prices and complex operations hindered the popularity of computers among the public. The 1970s represented a turning point for the industry. As computers became smaller and easier to use, they were adopted by a range of industries and could even be found at people's homes, which eventually led to the emergence of the Internet industry.

In 2020, the Data Center Interconnect (DCI) domain is undergoing a similarly spectacular shift. The surge in DCI traffic is leading to an exponential increase in leased line costs, greatly suppressing the amount of available bandwidth for various digital transformation applications. In response, many financial institutions, governments, and large enterprises are considering building their own DCI networks. However, deploying and operating a conventional Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM) system is complex, causing enterprise IT staff to become hesitant to build these networks. To address this issue and enable the smooth evolution of DCI, Huawei launched OptiXtrans DC908, which replaces the large, conventional WDM system with a simple, lightweight device. The device’s highly compact design reduces network construction costs, reshaping the DCI construction model for financial institutions, governments, and large enterprises.

Highly Compact Design Reduces DCI Construction Costs and Accelerates ROI

For an enterprise-built DCI network, the main costs include rental fees for optical fibers and equipment rooms, as well as electricity fees. For example, the monthly rental fee for optical fibers per kilometer ranges from US$70 to US$85 on a metro network in the Asia-Pacific region, and reaches US$150 on a cross-metro network. Meanwhile, the monthly rental fee per cabinet ranges from US$850 to US$1150 (including electricity and air conditioner fees). This means it is essential that usage of optical fibers and cabinet space is maximized and power consumption is kept low in order to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for DCI.

Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 uses two methods to improve fiber capacity. First, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 maximizes the usage of fiber spectrum resources. Using Huawei's unique wide-spectrum tunable light source, modulator technology, and wide-spectrum optical amplification technology, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 supports expansion from C-band to Super C120 and the smooth evolution to Super C120 + L100 — improving the overall capacity by 15% compared with the C96 + L96 industry standard. Second, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 improves the single-wavelength capacity. With the seventh-generation Huawei-developed optical Digital Signal Processing (oDSP) chip and unique Channel-Matched Shaping (CMS) algorithm, this device supports a maximum single-wavelength capacity of 800G. Additionally, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 allows customers to flexibly select the capacity from 100G to 88T, reducing customer investment.

Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 integrates five boards — the optical-layer multiplexer/demultiplexer, Optical Amplifier (OA), and Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) — into a single board, reducing equipment footprint by over 50%. A single device supports 12.8T ultra-high integration and 0.13 W per Gbit/s power consumption, minimizing space usage and power consumption.

Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 maximizes the single-fiber capacity to reduce the network construction cost per bit. Compared with leased lines, the payback period of an enterprise-built DCI network has been shortened considerably. For example, an enterprise-built 40 GE DCI network can be paid back in months, instead of years. For an enterprise-built DCI network, higher bandwidth will bring greater economic benefits. As traffic continues to surge, an enterprise-built DCI network helps enterprises reduce costs and unleashes suppressed bandwidth demand.

Lightweight Solution and Simplified Design Make DCI Networks Easier to Deploy and Use

Even though cost may not be an issue for some enterprises, technical difficulties remain a challenge. Most IT staff lack the in-depth knowledge necessary for them to install, connect the fibers within, configure, and commission a conventional WDM system. It is essential to ensure that IT staff can build their DCI networks easily. Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 is designed to achieve this goal by reducing the complexity and expertise required by conventional WDM devices.

Lightweight solution

A conventional Point-to-Point (P2P) WDM network requires multiple physical devices and a large number of manual fiber connections. In contrast, a single chassis of the Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 supports both optical-layer and electrical-layer subracks. A large number of multiple boards in 1 simplifies the device. For example, an 8-wavelength system requires only one optical-layer board, enabling a P2P network to be formed simply by connecting two chassis.

In addition, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 supports a network-level WebGUI, which can manage not only a single Network Element (NE) but also a small network that consists of multiple NEs. This eliminates the need for a small-scale DCI network to have a complex Network Management System (NMS), reducing costs and installation time.

Automatic operations

Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 automates installation and deployment, minimizing the need for manual input. For conventional WDM systems, manually connecting fibers is time-consuming and error-prone, and logical fibers need to be connected through the NMS, one-by-one, after physical fibers are connected. In contrast, Huawei OptiXtrans DC908’s 5-in-1 optical-layer board design does not require inter-board fiber connections, while the innovative distributed light sensor technology — using low-frequency pilot-tone signals to transmit information — quickly and automatically discovers fiber connections. In this way, the time required for logical fiber connections is reduced from hours to minutes, while fiber connection errors are completely eliminated. Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 also supports software-based automatic commissioning based on the intelligent optical network algorithm, by turning engineer experience into digital data. As a result, services can be provisioned within minutes through one-click deployment on the WebGUI.

Intelligent O&M

Huawei OptiXtrans DC908 introduces Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make Operations and Maintenance (O&M) more intelligent, shifting O&M from manual to automatic and from reactive to proactive. OptiXtrans DC908 offers second-level real-time network monitoring, and digitalizes optical parameters through light sensors deployed anywhere on the device. In addition, the built-in OTDR and AI decision-making algorithms are used to predict the health status of optical fibers. If a fault occurs, the AI computing capability is invoked to quickly perform interactive computing and identify the root-cause alarm. In this way, only one root-cause alarm is reported for one fault, ensuring quick and accurate troubleshooting. Huawei is committed to advancing O&M capabilities with the help of AI, and eliminates the biggest O&M headaches for IT personnel everywhere.

A New Era for DCI

Customers such as finance institutions, governments, and large enterprises prioritize reliability and security when building their DCI networks. Huawei has been dedicated to WDM technology R&D for over 30 years and is capable of developing key components independently. Huawei has also been ranked first globally in WDM market share for 11 consecutive years, with over 600,000 WDM devices currently in operation around the world. To put customers at ease, all the modules of the OptiXtrans DC908 support 1 + 1 backup, and they can be replaced within 15 seconds to implement disaster recovery and redundancy. In addition, the built-in AES-256 encryption and physical-layer port encryption ensure that core data is secure for all customers — a feature that is especially valuable for financial enterprises and governments.

With a highly compact design, quick and simplified deployment, and intelligent O&M, Huawei OptiXtrans lowers the cost and technical barriers for enterprises to build their own DCI networks, initiating a new era for enterprise-built DCI networks.