Ciena Selected as NGI Optical Platform Partner

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By Chris Wilkinson, Internet2 Director of Network Planning and Architecture


Internet2 is pleased to announce that the Next Generation Infrastructure (NGI) Project has passed a significant milestone with the formal selection of Ciena as the NGI optical platform partner. The planned Ciena 6500 DWDM platform will feature a flexible-grid architecture to enable the Internet2 community to more seamlessly share infrastructure and enable longer distance and higher-speed links of 400G and beyond. Additionally, the new system will feature an updated software infrastructure based on BluePlant MCP; combined with internal software tools, this system will provide additional support for the use and monitoring of alien waves for both production and research purposes. 

Ciena was selected through an extensive evaluation process involving Internet2 staff and community volunteers. After reviewing and scoring each proposal independently for hardware features, software features, capital cost, operational cost, and logistical aspects, there was clear consensus that Internet2 and Ciena renew their long-standing strategic partnership. Ciena’s proposal includes availability of the new fee structure to other Internet2 members.

Internet2 has developed a migration and transition strategy which will allow a rolling-migration for the footprint platform which intends to keep disruption of services to a minimum. The plan includes lighting the new gear on a new pair of fiber, interconnecting with the current kit and migrating wavelengths one at a time and then decommissioning the old kit. The first phase of the new system will include the route from Denver to Kansas City to Saint Louis and will end in Chicago. Deployment planning is proceeding with the goal of having the first segments online in late 2019 with completion by the end of 2020. 

We are grateful to the community members, Internet2 staff, and all the responding vendors for their diligence and hard work throughout the optical RFP process.

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