Alcatel-Lucent has announced a converged optical/IP backbone strategy that is aimed at a much more seamless coupling between core routing and core optics, the very thing that service providers have been demanding in RFPs. Further, the Alcatel-Lucent approach leverages the company’s optical incumbency and puts pressure on competitors that lack any real optical-layer product set or expertise.
We’ve seen operators working to create a more optical-based network core for at least five years now, and in the last year it’s become clear that they’ll execute on those demands in the near term.
The Alcatel-Lucent strategy is to take normal router-level lambda grooming and push it deeper, to the sub-lambda level, to support QoS-specific traffic. That’s a good option in our view. We must note that the new approach is overall more one of integration in a combination-of-product sense than in a single-product sense. We think this is a kind of statement of direction to create ever-tighter coupling in a data plane and management sense over time, which could be revolutionary.