Telia Carrier, which owns and operates high-speed fiber backbones around the world, aggressively uses new technologies to retain its competitive edge with global service providers and web-scale Internet operators.
Leading that charge is Mattias Fridström, chief evangelist at Telia Carrier since 2016 and the company's former chief technology officer, among other prior roles. Staying ahead of the latest and greatest tech advances, obviously, plays a central role in his career.
Fridström spoke recently with KNect365's Logan Armendone-Mowbray for Broadband World News about the optical and data center interconnect (DCI) industries, including how demand is driving change and innovation, which sectors are taking advantage of the latest developments in the sector and what "Transport SDN & NFV" mean for optical networking.
Following is an edited version of that conversation:
BBWN: What were the biggest challenges the optical and DCI industry faced in 2017?
Mattias Fridström: The big challenge is always to produce the next bit at less cost than the previous bit. We are under constant cost pressure and need to find ways of mixing legacy gear with new gear in a speed never seen before. Another one... was around all the data we started to receive from the network, through all projects we have had to extract operational data. How [can we] use this data in a useful way and when can we really trust this data to actually have the network itself do repair work and make traffic-affecting decisions? These challenges will only grow over time, as there is no slowdown in sight -- but we have started to see good signs of true automation.
BBWN: Which sectors are taking advantage of developments in optical networking and DCI?
MF: Typical long-haul carriers [are] starting to implement versions of DCI gear to bring down cost in the long-distance network. Even though they were designed for shorter reach, there is nothing stopping anyone from using them everywhere in the network where simple transport of traffic is the only thing you are after.
BBWN: How is demand driving change and bringing innovation?
MF: There's constant demand from everyone that every time you buy some traffic it needs to be cheaper than the previous time. This is a constant challenge to the industry: to find new ways of using the networks and how to operate them. The way the industry currently looks at open line systems is strong evidence that everyone wants to take advantage of the latest innovations, regardless of what you previously had purchased for your own network. It will come with some operational challenges, but it's definitely worth exploring further.
BBWN: Can you share one network improvement you'd like to see?
MF: Every network still has far too many planned work [stoppages]. There is obviously a need for interruptions during some maintenance work but we need to limit these interruptions to a minimum to keep customers satisfied.
BBWN: What does "Transport SDN & NFV" mean for optical networking?
MF: So far this has mostly been discussed and debated and very little been built and programmed that would satisfy the need of today’s transport providers. Most products so far have been very vendor specific and not really useful to carriers in a larger scale. Initiatives though TIP [Telecom Infra Project] and other projects show good signs but we are still months away from the dream software-defined network solutions that would actually make a difference for how a carrier operates its network.
BBWN: How close are we when it comes to evolving towards 400G?
MF: Not really for me as purchaser of the gear to comment but I believe we are not that far away. Very few customers have this demand today but that will change quite quickly as traffic constantly grows.
Join Mattias Fridström at NGON & DCI Europe 2018, where he’ll speak at the session, 'Traffic Trends as seen by a large carrier.' Book your tickets now.
— Logan Armendone-Mowbray is content marketer at KNect365.