Open XR Forum approves first optical specification

Open XR Forum, which boasts several service provider members including Verizon, Lumen Technologies, AT&T and Windstream, approved its first specification. This specification creates an architecture that will disaggregate the management of intelligent Open XR-compliant pluggable transceivers from host devices.

Specifically, the spec will delineate transport and IP management functions and eliminate one of the obstacles to widespread deployment of IP over dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM). DWDM is a multiplexing technology used to increase the bandwidth of existing fiber networks.

According to the XR Forum, the architecture created by the specification solves some of the problems associated with deploying and managing coherent optical engines in networking devices such as routers, servers and mobile radios. At the same time, it also establishes a way for companies to manage point-to-multipoint coherent networks based on XR-compliant pluggable transceivers. The result, according to the forum, is a management solution that makes it easier to deploy coherent optical engines closer to the network edge. Unlike traditional optical networks, which use point-to-point configuration, XR optics uses a point-to-multipoint architecture in which a single transceiver can send and receive multiple data streams.

Traditional optical networks send data over fiber paths that require identical transceivers at each end to receive signals. This model is inefficient because it includes under-utilized transceivers and requires intermediate aggregation points to connect those signals with the internet, network applications and content platforms. In addition, this networking model also requires expensive truck rolls when any upgrades are needed.

In contrast, XR optics can be used to divide a single high-speed wavelength into multiple low-baud-rate subcarriers. The result is that a single optical fiber can deliver higher capacity reducing the number of transceivers needed by about 50%.

Open XR Forum was formed a year ago to solve some of the challenges associated with deploying XR optics.  Besides its service provider members, other members of XR Forum include Infinera, Crown Castle, Colt, Juniper Networks, Sumitomo Electric and Arrcus.