Networks have traditionally been quite inflexible and required a lot of hands-on work. But network operators today are under a lot of pressure to address growing needs while containing their costs and being able to scale. So technology providers are introducing new solutions that allow for automation, better scalability, faster time to market, and remote management. And some service providers are exploring and adopting such solutions.
There are an array of new technologies that offer all of some of these benefits. That includes architectures, technologies, and solutions including adaptive and intent-based networking, AIOps, artificial intelligence, software-defined networking, and FlexEthernet.
You’re probably already aware of artificial intelligence and SDN. You may even have heard about adaptive and intent-based networking, which employs policy and programmability to allow for automation and insight. But you may not be familiar with FlexEthernet, or FlexE as it’s also known.
FlexE is a new standard out of the Optical Internetworking Forum. It decouples the Ethernet MAC rate from the physical interface to give service providers the ability to get higher capacity sooner rather than later.
With FlexE, network operators don’t have to wait for standard pluggable interfaces to be defined and introduced. It supports a range of Ethernet MAC rates, including 10GbE, 40GbE, nx25GbE.
FlexE also lets network providers increase and decrease Ethernet rates remotely and as needed. And it doesn’t require the use of VLANs or Layer 2 traffic management.
FlexE was initially created with the needs of content providers in mind. Today addresses three primary use cases.
One is bonding/grouping. That allows standard rate interfaces to support higher capacity clients or interfaces.
Another is sub-rating. This matches client or service rate to the transport line’s capabilities.
A third is channelization. That allows network operators to aggregate low rate clients on a group interface. And it’s more scalable than VLANs or other methods.
Edited by Maurice Nagle