Infinera DRX Programmable Carrier-class White Box Router
Bringing Unmatched Flexibility and Scalability to Carrier Networking from Access to Core
The emergence of 5G networks, with their completely new set of use cases and services, is forcing traditional carriers as well as cable operators to rethink their networks and infrastructures. The main challenges for any category of transport network include multiplying capacity and addressing stringent latency needs posed by specific use cases such as augmented reality and autonomous driving. In particular, latency requirements push applications and services such as multi-access edge computing (MEC) and security functions from the network core and large data centers closer to the access network, thus turning aggregation sites into small data centers. Transport networks must be able to adjust and scale quickly to meet growing demands and easily deploy new functionalities through software.
At the same time, carrier networks must ensure economic profitability while contending with evolving technical requirements. Like mobile operators, cable operators are moving toward similar network architectures that take fiber deep into the access and distribute network functions to enable higher-speed broadband services. This new architecture is called distributed access architecture (DAA), in which the headend gets virtualized and distributed into the access and aggregation network.
ENSURING SMOOTH MIGRATION TO DISAGGREGATED NETWORK ARCHITECTURES
Infinera addresses these needs with a new, open networking-based architecture in which hardware and software are disaggregated into separate functions. Disaggregated routing provides a flexible, programmable network architecture for service providers. Furthermore, the Infinera DRX Series relies on design principles that meet advanced demands for carrier networks like synchronization, temperature hardening, and resiliency. It leverages a larger ecosystem of elements to build and evolve the infrastructure of transport networks. The Infinera advanced solutions portfolio supports smooth migration toward open and disaggregated network architectures, with a range of white box routers including the Infinera DRX Series carrier-class white box portfolio, Infinera Converged Network Operating System (CNOS), and intelligent control based on the Infinera Transcend software-defined networking (SDN) controller and orchestration solutions.
EVOLVING FROM VENDOR-SPECIFIC SYSTEMS TO WHITE BOXES
Traditional carrier network routing elements, or black boxes, are closed vendor-specific systems in which hardware and software are tightly integrated. In contrast, white boxes are switch or router elements that are agnostic to the network operating system (NOS), enabling new carrier flexibility. The adoption of white boxes began with IT and data centers and is gradually achieving traction among telco carriers as well. Key drivers for white boxes are flexibility, lower capital expenses, and reduced operating costs through network automation. White boxes contain basic mechanics along with the network processor or fabric silicon depending on their role in multi-unit scaling nodes, together enabling customization with the NOS and other software for specific use cases.