Verizon is tripling the capacity of its fiber core network by upgrading older router equipment with new equipment, capable of utilizing the latest 400 Gbps per port optical technology. When the overhaul of the fiber core network (the superhighway Verizon uses to move customers’ data) is complete, Verizon will be able to manage 115 Tbps of data, the equivalent of almost 24 billion streaming songs, at any given moment. This upgrade will significantly increase the bandwidth needed to support wireless, home internet, enterprise, small business and FIOS customers.
In addition to providing the increased bandwidth needed for data growth over the next decade, the new equipment provided by Juniper Networks, Inc. offers many additional operational benefits:
- The equipment is half the size of the existing equipment, reducing space requirements in core facilities and driving down both power usage per GB and cost per GB to operate.
- The new equipment offers an advanced level of automation, allowing for automated interfaces with other network systems to make faster decisions and changes, improving reporting telemetry to advance analytics and real-time adjustments to address congestion or other performance improvements, and incorporating protocols like segment routing to make more intelligent routing decisions. These automations will make the Verizon network even more reliable, programmable and efficient.
- Additionally, because this new equipment is so dense with such large capacity, Verizon will be able to redesign its network architecture to spread the equipment out to additional facilities across geographies, building in an additional level of redundancy with the ability to reroute traffic onto a greater number of fiber routes when needed.
Verizon will replace its legacy 100 Gb/s packet network routers with Juniper’s latest PTX10000-series of modular routers. These use Juniper’s Express silicon that will eventually include the Express 5 platform Juniper introduced earlier this year. The Express 5 silicon can support up to 28.8 Tb/s of throughput, or the equivalent of 36, 800 Gb/s interfaces. This represents a 45% improvement in power efficiency over previous chipsets. The packet optical devices place data packets directly onto and receive them from an optical transport network. They are placed onto that network in what Juniper describes as an “optical transport envelope” that allows that data to bypass “much of the other external networking equipment needed to groom or otherwise process electrical or optical signals originating on the router.” This process reduces the chance of data corruption and allows for closer monitoring of that data.
“Our fiber network is the largely invisible foundation that is a key driving force behind providing the scalability and reliability our customers need and expect,” said Kyle Malady, Executive Vice President, President Global Networks & Technology at Verizon. “This new packet core will provide the reliability and capacity we need today, but more importantly will be able to scale to meet the forecasted future demands that will result from the incredible capabilities of our robust 5G network, the platform for 21st century innovation,” he added.
Kevin Smith, VP of planning at Verizon, said the PTX10000-series update will be replacing its legacy Juniper PTX3000 and PTX5000 routers that it deployed a decade ago. That legacy equipment tops out at 100 Gb/s throughput. “The kind of traffic that is on this network is all of our public and private traffic, global FiOS traffic, all of our wireless traffic, as well as our former XO [Communications] network. As we look ahead and we see both from an infrastructure as well as a customer perspective, a lot for 200-gig and 400-gig for both those places, and our current platform just can’t support that level of services,” Smith said. He added that Verizon expects a 10-times improvement in total throughput with the Express 5 silicon and new chassis footprint. Smith also said that the new equipment is upgradeable to support higher-performing optical protocols like 800 Gb/s and 1 Tb/s per-port optical technology. The current 400 Gb/s move can manage up to 115 Tb/s of data, which the carrier expects to meet network demands through 2032. Updating to 800 Gb/s or 1 Tb/s will increase support to 230 Tb/s of data.
Sally Bament, VP of cloud and service provider marketing at Juniper Networks, said those boxes will include the vendor’s four-slot, eight-slot, and 16-slot chassis housing Juniper’s line cards. Those boxes are more power-dense with a footprint half the size of the existing equipment. This results in each box requiring less power, which drives down power usage per gigabyte and the cost per gigabyte to operate.
Smith advised that the upgrades are just getting started and that it will take a couple of years to complete. This will involve overlaying the new equipment into the same locations as the current deployment as well as installing physically smaller options into more edge locations. That legacy equipment will continue to operate for some time after the new network is turned on as it will need to continue supporting the large number of network elements that will eventually be migrated to the new core.