Monday, September 18, 2006

Matisse deploying Metro Ethernet with Optical Burst Switching

Today's Lightreading report discusses Matisse Networks gearing up for higher bandwidth Metro Ethernet. Matisse is a must-watch startup as it attempts to use "Optical Burst-Switching" technology which is widely research and understood but has not been commercially exploited and deployed.

Metro networks act as a bridge between backbone Internet networks (long-haul) and the access networks (such as DSL, Cable). As bandwidths in access increase and business enterprise traffic, the bandwidth in metro networks is expected to rapidly scale up.

With increased bandwidths, the cost of maintaining dedicated circuits using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexed (DWDM) technology is not scalable. Reconfigurable Add-Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) were built so that circuits can be reconfigured based on traffic demand. Matisse improves this furthur by using Optical Burst Switching (OBS) Technology. In OBS a train of packets known as a burst may be routed along a path on demand. This means no circuits need be pre-provisioned, and expensive circuit transponders need not be dedicated for every single communication path. This frees up expensive capital, simplifies network design, and enables the creation of the pure packet metro aggregation networks where bandwidth shifts in real-time to where it is needed in the network.

Matisse may have a bright future. Its founders have prior experience in establishing Amber Networks and selling it to Nokia for $421 million in 2001.

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