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Adapting to an Increasingly Diverse ROADM Landscape and new NMS Reporting Interfaces

26 January 2022
Melanie Gomersall

Trusted by:

Telecom Egypt
BC Hydro


National Grid
Open Fiber
TPX Communications
Ella Link
Red Iris
Surf Net

Changes to ROADM capabilities and the introduction of new reporting interfaces has resulted in a complex, diverse landscape. Operators must integrate new NMS reporting solutions alongside existing platforms. How do you consolidate all of these into a single inventory management system that provides the interfaces you need?

ROADM – a linchpin of service delivery – continues to evolve

ROADM (Reconfigurable Add-Drop Multiplexing) technology has been with us for around two decades, bringing flexibility to the way in which optical wavelengths are terminated, and which are not – backed by automated operations. ROADM is a key component of the optical transport network (OTN) and Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) networks – and integral to most core networks. 

Of course, there’s been huge innovation since the launch of the first ROADM solutions, including the ability to support flexible grid technology. And, there’s much more to come, as this update from Infinera notes. While not the focus of this post, we can report that, coming soon to a vendor near you, you can expect to encounter things like enhanced WSS features, enhancements to amplifiers, OSCs, OTDRs and much more – delivering better efficiency, power management, port capacity and so on. 

Of particular interest are enhancements to the Optical Supervisory Channel (OSC), increasing bi-directional communication rates, servicing different applications – in turn, this has implications for network management systems (NMSs). As a result of all of this activity, operators need to consider that existing ROADM systems may be upgraded, even while new assets are deployed – adding valuable new capabilities but also increasing the diversity of the network.

Evolution brings new challenges for OSS reporting

After all, many operators have solutions that have been in service for some time – so, legacy equipment needs to be considered alongside any new investments. Anything that happens in the optical layer – needs to be reflected (pardon the pun) in the NMS, so changes to reporting must be taken into account in the evolution of your OSS. 

Legacy and familiar interfaces include XML, SOAP, MTOSI and CORBA, while new interfaces, such as REST, RESTCONF (from the IETF – and based on HTTP, which is also key to other service interfaces in the new core network), and ONF’s T-API. All of this means that there is an increasingly diverse, heterogeneous environment to consider.

Consequently, many operators are struggling with multiple NMS platforms, both old and new. And, this means that systems that depend on data in the NMS, such as network inventory platforms, must also be aware of these changes. So, a key question is, are your inventory platform taking these changes into account? 

How do you ensure you get the big picture?

With so much data to consider, does your inventory platform create the comprehensive picture you need, even as elements such as ROADM follow evolution paths towards new capabilities? In other words, can you access key data, across all active and deployed interfaces, old and new? 

Of course, evolution is continuous. We can expect further profound changes to come, all of which will need to be integrated into the OSS. So, another question is, are you able to fully integrate new capabilities into your OSS – where you need them and where you need to capture such changes, so they’re accessible for reporting, visualisation, and service delivery?

Embracing all interfaces – legacy, current and future

If not, there’s a solution at hand. VC4-IMS is a complete, integrated network inventory management system that can easily connect to all legacy, current and (thanks to a consistent, standards-based evolution path), future NMS interfaces, ensuring that, all data is collected (and updated through daily reconciliation). Nothing is missed out. Figure 1 highlights the relationship between VC4-IMS and other systems, including the unique reconciliation interfaces that ensure the data is accurately updated.

Figure 1: VC4-IMS, functional view

vc4 ims interface

It covers all technologies, so as you build out your core, deploy more ROADM or extend your WDM / OTN, it’s got you covered. New interfaces can easily be integrated, so you can not only stay on top of developments, but also benefit from the single picture of your complete network that you need. Our experts will help you keep pace with ROADM evolution – we’ve been doing it for 20 years, so we know what this means and how to deliver.