Windstream Taps Ciena for National Converged Optical Network

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Windstream Communications Logo

Windstream and Ciena are announcing that Windstream, a flexible provider of advanced network communications, will build its National Converged Optical Network with Ciena’s photonic, coherent optical, and intelligent software platforms.

The new network will allow Windstream to meet customers’ surging bandwidth demands driven by remote work and learning applications, cloud computing and video streaming.

Windstream’s NCON will connect cities across its nationwide network, providing critical connectivity essential to our digital economy. This ultra-high-speed network will further enable capacity between Windstream’s Tier 1, 2, and 3 markets to major U.S. data centers, cable landing stations, and cross-border gateways.

Network Infrastructure

Leveraging Ciena’s technology, NCON will efficiently scale and dynamically adjust for optimal capacity on any path and avoid potential faults by automatically re-routing traffic based on available network resources. The NCON architecture will enable Windstream to support rapidly evolving future technologies and growing bandwidth demands while maintaining the ability to support legacy networks and components. The key drivers for Windstream include open connectivity, modularity, and software control. NCON ensures a future-proof network for the next generation and beyond while setting new economical and reliability baselines.

Now more than ever, network connectivity is central to almost every aspect of our lives – from how we conduct business, participate in virtual learning, utilize remote healthcare and interact socially. To meet this need, Windstream’s NCON will provide superior advancements in connectivity speeds and service delivery, converged network topologies, lower equipment and operational costs and increased network reliability.

This strategic partnership with Ciena further highlights Windstream’s commitment to delivering a fully automated nationwide network that can adapt to changes on-demand and provide superior services and connectivity experiences to its customers.

Windstream will deploy Ciena’s Waveserver 5 compact modular platform, powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme, the industry’s first 800G solution that allows for efficient, high-speed 100GbE and 400GbE client connectivity across any distance over programmable 400-800Gb/s wavelengths.

Windstream will be leveraging Ciena’s 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS), the first reconfigurable, fully programmable and integrated C&L-band line system to access double the optical spectrum capacity. With RLS, Windstream will achieve the highest level of network performance, with greater embedded intelligence for simpler planning and faster deployment.

Another key capability of Windstream’s NCON will be enabled by Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, which will utilize automation features and operational diagnostics to proactively identify and prevent potential connectivity issues. NCON will also take advantage of Ciena’s Liquid Spectrum predictive analytics, which will act as the brains of the network to provide real-time visibility into network efficiency.

The future of optical networking will rely on the ability to quickly adapt to new developments in high-speed line rates and flexible routing options. Multiple-vendor interoperation enabled by software intelligence embedded in the Ciena platforms will allow Windstream to efficiently deploy and operate these new technologies.
Windstream will start deploying and turning up traffic on the new network in the third quarter of 2020.

“Our increasingly digital world requires a differentiated network that pushes the boundaries of technology to take the connectivity experience to the next level. After extensive review in our quest to innovate and meet growing customer demands, it was clear that Ciena was the best partner to support our nationwide network transformation and ability to adapt to digital disruption. With NCON, Windstream will build an ultra-high capacity, intelligent network that will interoperate with our existing multi-vendor topology,” said,
­ Buddy Bayer, Chief Network Officer, Windstream.

“Windstream’s decision to partner with us again and build a world-class network that will span its entire U.S. footprint using our high-performance coherent optics and leading automation software not only demonstrates their industry leadership, but will help them deliver differentiated and innovative services while adapting to the disruptions and demands created by the digital economy,” said, Jason Phipps, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Ciena.


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