Polatis Optical Switches Selected for UK National Dark Fibre Network

New software-defined optical network will power research and technologies for the future Internet

Cambridge, UK and ECOC (Cannes) – Polatis, the performance leader in all-optical matrix switches, has been selected as the provider of optical switching for Aurora2, a new UK National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service (NDFIS). Aurora2 is a next-generation dark fibre network that provides direct access at the optical layer to users developing new technologies and services for future applications of the Internet. The network is funded by UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), through the Joint Academic Network, Janet. Aurora 2 is managed by a consortium led by University College London (UCL) with the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Southampton.

"Future Internet applications will require a scalable and dynamically reconfigurable optical network. Aurora2 provides an advanced software-defined optical network for the UK to pioneer new techniques for ultra-high capacity optical communications," said Nick Parsons, Chief Technology Officer at Polatis. "We are honoured and excited to be selected for this key initiative."

Eleven Polatis DirectLight™ optical switches will be deployed at nodes across the 800km Aurora2 network to enable researchers to reconfigure the infrastructure on demand via a software defined network (SDN) control plane, enabling unprecedented dynamic control of resources. Dark fibre gives users direct end to end access at the optical level to the entire multi-terahertz bandwidth of single mode optical fibre with no intermediate optical-electrical conversions that could restrict performance. The ultimate transmission capacity is limited only by the physical properties of the fibre.

Polatis DirectLight™ all-optical circuit switches are the first to support SDN through an embedded OpenFlow agent, together with plug-in support for the OpenDaylight SDN controller, developed in collaboration with the University of Bristol High Performance Networks Group. The patented Directlight™ optical circuit switch technology uniquely enables dark fibre pre-provisioning because it does not require light to establish a connection and can switch optical traffic with typical loss of less than 1dB regardless of colour, protocol, direction or line rate.

"The Aurora2 dark fibre network creates a flexible, future proof platform for UK researchers to remain at the leading edge of technology developments for the future internet," said Alwyn Seeds, NDFIS Director and Head of the Photonics Group at UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering. "Polatis all-optical matrix switches are excellently suited for this environment with proven performance, reliability and new software-defined control features."

Polatis all-optical switches are routinely used in demanding network applications where connection stability, reproducibility, security and low-loss are critical. Visitors to ECOC 2014 this week in Cannes, France can check out the Polatis SDN-enabled product line together with a demonstration of OpenFlow and direct integration with OpenDaylight at booth #208.

About Polatis

Polatis delivers the world's lowest loss all-optical switching solutions for remote fiber-layer provisioning, protection, monitoring, reconfiguration and test. Dependable, field-proven DirectLight™ optical matrix switch technology scales from 4x4 to 192x192 ports, applying class-leading performance to provide dynamic optical networking for telecommunications, data centre, government, test and video markets. For more information, please visit www.polatis.com.


Matt Burke


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