LightTrends Newsletter

All Optical Networks 2.0

September 2022

Summary and highlights of the Optinet China 2022 networking conference held on August 3-4 in Beijing, PRC.

Although delayed two months due to Beijing’s strict covid controls the 22nd annual OptiNet China conference was an in-person event drawing 723 technology professional from over 200 different companies who came together to hear 64 presentations during the two day meeting.

Wei Leping, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Communication Science and Technology Committee of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Director of the Science and Technology Committee of China Telecom Group Corporation, and Chairman of the China Optical Network Seminar Conference, gave the opening keynote speech, as he has done every year since the first Optinet China was held in 2001.

His long list of titles should include one more: ROADM champion. Wei Leping has advocated for the deployment of ROADMs in China for the last 15 years, and the current focus on all-optical networks is a great validation of his vision.

All Optical Networks 2.0 was the main topic of OptiNet China 2022. Chinese service providers plan to construct new low latency, high bandwidth and reconfigurable networks to support the new “Computing East and West” national datacenter program. Chinese Cloud companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, will also play a role in supporting this initiative, but we expect that service providers will take a lead in construction of new all-optical networks.

Low latency is a key requirement for the networking part of the “Computing East and West” program. Datacenters based in remote western regions of China cannot be used effectively to support customers in Eastern China without it. A ROADM-based, all-optical network offers a solution.

Zhang Chengliang, President, China Telecom Research Institute mentioned that China Telecom started to build and deploy ROADMs in its network in 2017, and today has five regional networks covering 31 provinces and 198 cities, with a total length of 300,000 kilometers and 460 ROADM nodes.

A new DC-centered network planned for 2025 will offer less than 20ms latency to 90% of the provincial capitals in China,, and latency within four key regions will be less than 15ms.

China Mobile, China Unicom, and Alibaba all described similar efforts to build new and upgrade existing networks in support of the "Computing East & West" initiative, utilizing ROADMs and 400G transmission, and in some cases, via open networking.

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