Fiber Optics News

It's Not Smart To Play 'god' With Network Equipment.

This is Part III of a three-part series on the metro core optical market, based on interviews and data from the consultancy Communications Industry Researchers. This week: The "god box" complex.

The term "god box" has sprung up in recent years as this sort of magical switch that would do everything ... and be bought by everyone. But Ponce De Leon may find his fountain of youth before manufacturers find their panacea.

Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) went in search of the god box in its recent report "Metro Optical Networking Opportunities." The term "god box" can be ambiguous. A next-generation SONET box that offers various services and protocols probably does not fall into this category. However, a device incorporating three or more types of functionality that have tended to be distinct network elements - SONET ADM, DWDM, DACS, routers, etc. - is much closer to the mark.

At first glance, the notion of replacing a half a dozen network elements with only one appears to be quite attractive. However, in looking a little closer, it is hard to find a compelling business case in most instances for this kind of box.

As a general rule, the more functionality there is in a system, the higher the cost. Moreover, given that carriers tend to start out with equipment at a low level of capacity and only gradually populate it, the issue of up-front cost becomes that much more problematic.

CIR is concerned about other potential drawbacks and concerns about such an all-encompassing box:

* Locking oneself into a product for many years. …

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