Flexible Optical Transceivers: Answering the Call for Lower Costs from Network
With Thomas Wieble, Chief Technology Officer, FlexOptix
In the present day and age, when minimizing OPEX and CAPEX is the mantra at practically every service provider, operator, ISP, cable provider, and data center and exchange operator anywhere in the world (whether big or small!), one may not think so much about optical transceivers as having the ability to play a big role in the equation. Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth! In fact, the last few years have seen rapid progress in the development of programmable or flexible optical transceivers (and, actually, also flexible transceivers for wireless applications, but that’s another episode!) that provide lower-cost, higher-intelligence modules.
The rapid expansion of IP-based services in the access has increased the demand for optical modules from operators, while making it vital to lower the module prices and the associated operational costs. Indeed, with highly-distributed networks, the network management and operational support system requirements are also becoming more complex, making effective network management a key need for the operator to deliver the highest bandwidths in the shortest possible time. In fact, rapid bandwidth deployment increases the number of upgrades in the network. Such continuous change requires optical module manufacturers to become smarter in the design of their components, and allow for performance monitoring and diagnostics, which increase network reliability, maintain high up-time, and lower operational costs for the network operator.
To discuss these next-generation transceivers, and, most importantly , to understand the numerous benefits they provide to the service provider, we invited Thomas Wieble, CTO of FlexOptix, a leading flexible transceiver provider, to an episode of our signature series “Conversations with Experts.” Thomas enlightened us on the value of programmable transceivers for operators, the benefits they provide, and the cost vs performance trade-offs. Truly fascinating insights!.
Vishal Sharma, Principal Technologist, Metanoia-Inc.
In this Conversations with Experts episode, we focus on the new breed of flexible optical transceivers, which have emerged in just the last 2-3 years, and have a remarkable impact on the network reliability, troubleshooting and diagnostic capability, and therefore, the network operational cost of a provider’s network!
Thomas starts by discussing the key capabilities of programmable transceivers, and what these mean for a network operator. That is, how the operator may make use of them. We then shift to delving into their benefits for the operator – that is, how they have the potential to streamline operations – from diagnostics to network monitoring.
This leads to an interesting discussion on the differences between carrier architectures in Europe vs the US, and how flexible transceivers play a role in meeting the needs of these different network designs.
Thomas then explains the impact that programmable transceivers have on the ability to efficiently maintain and trouble-shoot the network, versus the costs of these transceivers (when compared to standard passive transceivers). We discover that the cost-performance trade-off works hugely to the advantage of programmability.
We close by asking Thomas to spell out the key lessons and best-practices to take away, based on his and his company’s experience in dealing with operators of all shapes and sizes in different parts of the world.
Thomas Weible is Chief Technology Officer at FlexOptix, an innovative provider of programmable transceivers, based near Frankfurt, Germany.
Thomas and his team of innovative engineering, software, and optical experts, have, over just the last few years, built FlexOptix into a leading technology holder in the area of reconfigurable transceivers.
At Flexoptix, Thomas has dual responsibility for technology and marketing. He is responsible, on the one hand, for guiding internal technology development, and, on the other, for keeping his finger on the pulse on the industry by interfacing with customers and partners worldwide, including carriers, operators, ISPs, data center and exchange providers, and cable operators.
Thomas received an MS in Computer Science from the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, Germany, and also has degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, and the James Cook University, Australia.