Cisco PONC Conference – Reaching Critical Mass

Cisco Systems held its Packet Optical Network Conference (PONC) Conference in Texas this week. PONC is primarily a customer and reseller-related conference where Cisco shares its latest innovations and some of its customers’ newest network designs. Cisco shared that on a year-to-date basis, it had four times more Routed Optical Networks (RON) deployments than it had up to the same time last year. The company also shared that it has 83 deployed RON customers. With nearly 100 customers having deployed Cisco RON, we think it is accurate to say that the architecture has achieved critical mass with room to grow.

Cisco also made some new-product-related announcements, as well as updates to products. First, the company said that it will ship a module-based Optical Line Terminal (OLT) in a few months “that works with anyone’s ONT.” We find this entry to the Passive Optical Network (PON) market interesting, given Cisco’s de-emphasis of its Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) business because they are both of these markets are mostly used for residential broadband. Second, the company emphasized that its NCS1010 supports C+L, which effectively doubles throughput. It further emphasized that all of its Optical Line Systems (OLS) are “Open,” meaning they can work with other vendors’ transponder systems.

As we explained last year, with Cisco’s acquisition of optical module expert Acacia, Cisco’s shipments of ZR and ZR+ type of Digital Coherent Optics (DCO) modules that plug directly into routers and Ethernet switches, the company is seeing significant shipment growth.