Ciena wants to make a name for itself in the routing market

Well-known optical transport vendor Ciena is looking to make gains in the routing market, with company CEO Gary Smith pointing to 5G and edge deployments as key opportunities to get its foot in the door.

During an investor conference on Wednesday, Smith said the company homed in on the routing space “quite a while ago” and believes the “convergence of IP, optical and software” is bound to happen at the metro edge. It’s aiming to capitalize on this trend with an offering that combines its optical prowess with an Adaptive IP architecture which melds its automation and packet software.

“Our architecture is much differentiated, it’s much simplified, it’s lower maintenance. It’s a much cleaner, simpler architecture built on lower levels of routing…with a lot of automation software and bringing our optical stuff to bear. And we think that’s a great opportunity for us really in the coming years to expand our total available market,” Smith said.

It’s recently announced acquisition of Vyatta from AT&T only adds fuel to the fire, he added, providing more resources and a “great talent pool” to speed its efforts to tackle the routing segment.

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Smith stated Ciena is “the largest provider of mobile backhaul in the United States” which gives it a substantial footprint it can leverage as it makes its move. He pointed to 5G and edge computing as “entry points for us” and an “opportunity to insert ourselves in that market that has been full of really the traditional router players.”

He continued: “We’ve got nothing to lose, we’ve got no installed base. So we can be the challenger in this space.”

Ciena first introduced its Adaptive IP capabilities to its networking portfolio in 2018 and unveiled a range of transport routers for 5G fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul last year.

During a briefing in July, Ciena CTO Stephen Alexander said its Adaptive IP system offers an alternative to traditional routing capabilities by pushing decision-making further out into the network. As packets hit the network and need to be directed to the right place, “that first network element can now make some those decisions for you and you don’t have to just carry all that traffic back to a router…it just simplifies the infrastructure to put what we could call Adaptive IP right at the edge,” he explained.