Dion Leung, Regional Managing Director, Ciena

IP/Optical convergence is nothing new: at its core, it is all about streamlining and simplifying networking layers. However, the urgency of IP network modernization — along with hardware and software advancements — has thrust IP/Optical convergence to the forefront of current discussions on network architecture. How?

    • Traditionally, traffic typically follows a hub-and-spoke configuration, moving from the access to the metro, where all services converge irrespective of their ultimate destination. In this model, separate networks support different applications and service types. However, such static and inflexible architecture poses challenges when it comes to integrating applications closer to access and aggregation zones. This rigidity only hampers the network’s ability to effectively support next-generation distributed services.
    • With that in mind, we must reframe how we traditionally view IP/Optical convergence if we want to fully realize more opportunities in SEA’s digital push — including harnessing the full potential of AI. In the era of 5G and multi-cloud IP, merely merging the IP and optical layers of the network by inserting a coherent plug into a router is no longer effective. An agile and lean network infrastructure becomes critical for redirecting traffic flows to accommodate digital consumption demands across the region. What we need is a network transformation rooted in true innovation — specifically multi-layer visibility and automation that empower operators to plan, troubleshoot, and dynamically move traffic flows in a converged architecture.
    • A holistic approach — inclusive of automation from multi-layer operations, and scale from an intelligent programmable optical layer — is now key to unlocking greater value from IP/Optical convergence.