10 Optical Networking Acronyms: What They Are and Why They Matter

10 Optical Networking Acronyms: What They Are and Why They Matter

As in almost any industry, discussions about optical networking trends and technology can feature an overwhelming amount of acronyms. Here’s a quick explanation of some of these acronyms that we expect to see and hear about quite a bit this year.


(Industrial) Internet of Things. As we recently discussed, the Internet of Things refers to the entire ecosystem of interconnected devices that are expected to proliferate in the years to come. Any “smart” device that transmits and receives cloud data to operate qualifies as part of the IoT, from self-driving cars to home speaker systems. The IIoT is the specific subset of the IoT that exists in a manufacturing setting.


Open Network Open Source. This can refer to any open source-based software used on open network switches, or specifically the ONOS Project, a collaborative consortium developing such software. Unlike the traditional proprietary networking model, this software is disaggregated from the switch hardware, allowing network operators to choose the best available hardware and software for their applications. 


Software Defined Networking. SDN makes network management optimally efficient. From one central SDN controller, network operators can monitor and control traffic flow throughout the entire network architecture. They can also automatically provision new switches, shortening turn-up time and eliminating human error from the process. This will become absolutely essential as increasing bandwidth demands require networks to remain flexible and scalable.


Analog Coherent Optics and Digital Coherent Optics. “Coherent” optics increase the reach of 100G data transmission (over 1000km with amplification) by using more complex light modulation schemes than traditional transceivers. The difference between ACO and DCO lies in their components: DCO transceivers have a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chip on the optic itself, while ACO transceivers require a switch with DSPs. This gives DCO optics a lower port cost and easier interoperability with more host platforms.


Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable-Double Density and Octal Small Form Pluggable. These are the two standards-based 400G form factors that are set to battle for market dominance in 2019 and beyond. The “QSFP” portion of QSFP-DD traces its lineage to the 100G QSFP28 form factor (with which it is directly compatible), and the “double-density” portion of QSFP-DD refers to the extra row of contacts that enable 400G transmission. The “octal” portion of OSFP refers to its eight-lane electrical interface (8x50G). While it is not certain which of these two form factors will prevail, we believe the higher port density and lower power consumption of the QSFP-DD will tip the scales in its favor.


Common Public Radio Interface. CPRI is a protocol for data transmission in wireless fronthaul applications, generally between a base station and cell antenna towers. While CPRI has been around for over a decade, it has continued to evolve with the technology that supports wireless networks, and is likely to remain a common protocol for forthcoming 5G deployments.  


10G Symmetrical Passive Optical Network. XGS-PON is a standard for FTTx networks that offers 10G data transmission both upstream and downstream. Because it operates on different wavelengths from 1G GPON, it can be deployed as an overlay on existing fiber infrastructure.

Want to learn more acronyms? Check out our full Glossary of Terms.

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