Big Content and Big Bit Barn are escaping the clutch of Big Photon

Zuck and Equinix create open source packet-optical switch

Two fingers, photo via Shutterstock

Facebook's tipped its in-house designed Voyager packet optical switches into the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), with Equinix signing on as crash-test dummy for the switches.

Packet optical switches are backbone-scale devices that make switching decisions in the optical domain, without having to convert the traffic into electrical signals for switching.

It's a research-intensive market that commands a handy premium for the vendors that play in the space (Ciena, Coriant, Lumentum, Exfo and others).

Opening up the box and splitting off the switch software therefore offers an opportunity to make the devices a bit more white-box-like for customers with huge networks.

The field tests will see Voyager switches plugged into two Equinix International Business eXchange (IBX) data centres to get put through their paces.

The two have co-chaired the TIP's Packet Optical Transport Group since May.

Earlier testing of Voyager happened in two Equinix data centres in Silicon Valley.

Voyager combines compute, switch, router, and dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology, with today's de rigueur disaggregation of the different functions playing it into the software defined networking model.

Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi says developments in optical networking need somewhere “all the hardware and software can come together”, and naturally enough nominates his own company as the ideal place for that to happen. ®


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