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Lightreading covered an announcement by Telia Carrier that it was one of the first major network operators to use pluggable 400ZR and OpenZR+ coherent modules. The network operator deployed Acacia pluggable in Cisco equipment over an open optical line system. Both Scott Wilkinson and Andrew Schmitt provided additional insight in the article.

Previous iterations of IP-over-WDM were slowed by optics that were too big and vendor solutions that weren’t flexible enough. “Cisco’s point of view was that if you put a switch and a router everywhere, then you wouldn’t need things like ROADMs and cross-connects,” said Scott Wilkinson

Now, things are much different, according to Andrew Schmitt, founder and directing analyst at Cignal AI. “There are open software standards for interfacing different transport vendors equipment, open line systems that allow different transponders to be used, and optical interface compatibility via OIF 400ZR, OpenROADM, and OpenZR+.”

And, in a routed optical network, routing vendors and optical transport vendors will find themselves fighting over turf, too. It’s too soon, perhaps, to quantify that battle, but this is “definitely is a long term threat to the transport guys. There’s no doubt about it,” Cignal AI’s Schmitt said.