Most of us live, work and play on solid ground, and don’t give much thought to what goes on in the depths of the ocean. Many key optical cables reside in deep water, however, making the work of a submarine network field technician difficult but vital.
A recent blog post from optical networking specialists Ciena discusses the importance of submarine networks and the engineers and technicians who keep them running smoothly. Submarine technicians are a special breed of worker, possessing vast knowledge of optical transmission technologies and a willingness to travel globally at a moment’s notice to handle emergencies.
Field engineers and technicians need to be knowledgeable about submarine network technologies and components along with the terrestrial backhaul network segments they connect with. They must also be able to work with multiple test sets to diagnose and maintain network health.
The next challenge is a need to get consistent measured data for link engineering, troubleshooting and modeling. There is great potential for human error in gaining these measurements so automation is key to consistency. Ciena offers its GeoMesh solution to tackle this issue, optimizing and automating submarine, terrestrial and web-scale networks and technologies. The offering is designed to simplify the PoP-to-PoP transport layer using coherent transmission and ROADM (News - Alert)-based optical bypass. The architecture also adds service intelligence and robustness, all managed by Ciena’s control plane.
Other unique challenges in maintaining submarine networks include travel restrictions and local regulations, which can impede last-minute visits to diagnose emergencies. Some countries require local workers to handle issues, even though they may not have the necessary skillset. There is also an issue of travel time and the expenses associated with moving around globally on short notice.
The ability to remotely test end-to-end services across submarine networks goes a long way toward offsetting the challenges faced by field technicians and engineers. Ciena has a broad range of solutions geared specifically toward submarine network operators to assist with automation and remote diagnostics. Offerings are designed to help operators monetize their investments and extract maximum value from their networks by ensuring they run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Edited by Maurice Nagle