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EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

19/01/09

12:21

Page 1

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK

continue to benefit the industry in many ways. ROADM

:: So, is there a compromise between cost and


flexibility that can be achieved?

technology allows Service Providers network flexibility

The answer is yes. Although, ROADMs will likely be more

without major up front planning or future reconstruction of

expensive than fixed filters for a very long time, the answer to

the network to accommodate unforeseen service demand.

allowing a ROADM solution to scale in cost with the service

In addition, ROADM technology holds a very promising

providers needs lies in the implementation of ROADM network

future in the realization of all optical switching and protection.

elements using available off-the-shelf WSS ROADM technologies.

ROADMs are a disruptive technology that have and will

To understand this better, lets talk a little about WSS ROADM

ROADMs do still have one inhibitor to ubiquitous deployment

technology choices that ROADM solution providers offer. First

in all networks however. This inhibitor is up front cost. Most

to level set, lets be clear on what we mean by a 2 degree or

ROADM solutions available in the industry today are many

3 degree ROADM network elements. The diagram below shows

times more expensive than fixed filter solutions and whether or

an example of 2 and 4 degree ROADM network elements with

not this extra cost is worth the investment is still in debate.

local add drop traffic.

There are some lower cost older generation ROADM solutions


available (like Planar Lightwave Circuit, PLC ROADMs for
instance) but these solutions have often fallen short in
scalability or functionality to the extent that newer WSS (Wave

Degree 4 ROADM

Selective Switch) based ROADMs are preferred. For instance,


many of the PLC based ROADMs had limitations in the number
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of degrees supported or in their ability to transport and switch


Degree 3

40Gig wavelengths.
Degree 2 ROADM

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Local
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Degree 2

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gree 1

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Degree 2

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Degree 1

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Figure 1. Examples of 2 and 4 Degree ROADM Network Elements with local add-drop traffic

In the figure 1 above, a 2 degree ROADM network element is a network node that can add and drop traffic locally to or from 2 directions
in the network (right and left in the diagram above). A four degree ROADM network element is a network node that can add and drop
traffic locally to or from 4 directions in the network (right, left, up, and down in the diagram above). In the industry, it is now generally
accepted that any ROADM network element should be able to scale to 8 degrees and drop any channel from any degree locally with
no limitation.

EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

19/01/09

12:23

Page 2

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK
The key in scaling cost lies in the ROADM components used

ROADM network element built with this component would

by the ROADM network element manufacturer given that the

require 4 ROADM components, one for each degree.

ROADM components used make up the majority of the cost of

As an example, the figure below shows how a 2 degree ROADM

the ROADM network element. There are a number of ROADM

network element is built from 1x2 ROADM components.

optical components that could be used by transport vendors to


produce the 2 ROADM examples above. ROADM components
are classified by the number of degrees that they support.
For instance, a ROADM component that can support up to

Degree 2 ROADM

2 degrees with local add drop of any channel coming from or


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going to any of those degrees would be called a 1x2 ROADM.

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Degree 2

Local
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Typically, one ROADM component is necessary for each


West Channels

degree in a ROADM network element so, a 2 degree ROADM

East Channels

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1 x 2 WSS

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network element would require 2 1x2 ROADM components.


Local
Add/Drop

A ROADM component that can support up to 4 degrees with


local add drop of any channels coming from or going to any of

Local
Add/Drop

those 4 degrees would be called a 1x4. A four degree

Figure 2, A 2 Degree ROADM Network Element Built


Using 1x2 WSS ROADM Components

In a ROADM network element, each ROADM component is

ROADM network element from 2 degrees to 4 degrees. The

used to add and drop channels from a single degree. The

figures below show a 2 degree ROADM network element built

ROADM components are then interconnected to allow

with 1x4 ROADM components and that same ROADM network

channels to be connected from one degree to the other.

element upgraded to 4 degrees with the addition of two more

ROADM components have ports that allow for this optical inter-

1x4 ROADM components.

connection as well as for the dropping of local channels. The


number of ports that a ROADM component has determines

Degree 2 ROADM

how many degrees it can be interconnected with. In the example


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above, the 1x2 ROADM component has 2 ports, one for local

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Degree 2

Local
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add drop and one for interconnection to the 2nd ROADM

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1 x 4 WSS

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expansion and will forever be limited to 2 degrees unless traffic

Local
Add/Drop

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network element in the example above has no more ports for

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1 x 4 WSS

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component necessary to support 2 degrees. So, the ROADM

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Local
Add/Drop

is taken down and the ROADM components are replaced with


higher degree ROADM components. In order to allow for future
expansion, the above ROADM network element can be built

Figure 3, A 2 Degree ROADM Network Element Built


Using 1x4 WSS ROADM Components

with 2 1x4 ROADM components that have 2 additional ports


each . This would allow for the addition of 2 more ROADM
components in the ROADM network element and upgrade the

EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

19/01/09

12:24

Page 3

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK
EKINOPS
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EKINOPS
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8 degrees or more of expansion without traffic interruption.

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Degree 4 ROADM

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Because of this, many system suppliers opt for utilizing 1x8

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Local
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or larger ROADM components for all of their ROADM network


elements. This means that lower degree ROADM network
elements are more expensive than they need to be as most

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West Channels

East Channels

1 x 4 WSS

1 x 4 WSS

ROADM network elements will always remain 4 degrees or


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Degree 2

Degree 4

gree 1
Degree

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1 x 4 WSS

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fewer and in fact many will always remain 2 degrees.


Local
Add/Drop

Local
Add/Drop

Another alternative would be to allow the service provider to


pick from a number of different ROADM network element

Local
Add/Drop

1 x 4 WSS

South Channels

choices that are built from various degree ROADM components


allowing the customer to choose his own price vs. scalability

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tradeoff. There is, however, a better solution. A solution that

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Figure 4, A 4 Degree ROADM Network Element Built


Using 1x4 WSS ROADM Components

allows for an optimal tradeoff of flexibility and price, regardless

Notice that in the 4 Degree ROADM network element, each

is utilize optical splitters/couplers to allow for the addition of

ROADM component uses all 4 of its ports. One port for local

new ROADM components even if the ROADM component

add drop and the other 3 ports to interconnect with the other

initially used does not have any remaining ports. What an optical

ROADM components representing the other degrees of the

splitter/coupler does is replicate all of the channels on a fiber

ROADM network element. So, why would one ever build a

onto another fiber that can then be used to transfer all channels

2 degree ROADM network element with 1x2 ROADMs as

to another ROADM component. The optical splitter is placed

shown in figure 2 when the ROADM network element could

in front of the existing ROADM component allowing for all

be built to be scalable as shown in figure 3 by using 1x4

channels being received by that ROADM component to be

ROADM components? This is where the dilemma arises when

replicated and fed to a future ROADM component that will be

designing ROADM network elements. The tradeoff is cost vs.

used to accommodate future degrees in the ROADM network

scalability. Of course, a 1x2 ROADM component is cheaper

element. The figure below shows an example of a 1x2 network

than a 1x4 ROADM component so, scalability comes with a

element with optical Couplers/Splitters.

of the size of the ROADM network element. What one can do

price. The 2 degree ROADM network element is cheaper when


built with 1x2 ROADM components than it is when built with

Degree 2 ROADM

1x4 ROADM components but, the 2 Degree ROADM network


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element is scalable to 4 degrees when built with 1x4 ROADM

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Degree 2

Local
Add/Drop

components whereas the 2 degree ROADM network element


West Channels

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East Channels

1 x 2 WSS

1 x 2 WSS

Local
Add/Drop

to allow flexibility and scalability without planning, most transport

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Because the primary benefit of a ROADM network element is

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Coupler

built with 1x2 ROADM components is not.


Coupler

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Local
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Degree 3

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Local
Add/Drop

system vendors default to utilizing larger ROADM components


Figure 5, A 2 Degree ROADM Network Element Built
Using 1x2 WSS ROADM Components with a Splitter/Coupler
for future expansion

to build even lower degree ROADMs. The generally accepted


requirement for a ROADM network element is to allow for

EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

19/01/09

12:26

Page 4

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK
The figure below shows how additional 1x2 ROADM components

And finally, the figure below shows how the additional 1x2

can be coupled into the ROADM network element to provide

ROADM components can be used to interconnect the existing

additional ROADM ports for connectivity to future ROADM

2 degrees to an additional 2 degrees making this ROADM

network element degrees. The coupler replicates all channels

network element 4 degrees.


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Degree 4 ROADM

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West Channels

East Channels

1 x 2 WSS

1 x 2 WSS

1 x 2 WSS

1 x 2 WSS

Local
Add/Drop

Local
Add/Drop

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1 x 2 WSS

1 x 2 WSS

Local
Add/Drop

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Local
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1 x 2 WSS

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1 x 2 WSS

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Degree 2

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Degree 2

Degree 4

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1 x 2 WSS

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gree 1
Degree

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1 x 2 WSS

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North Channels

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Degree 3

switch any channels to future degrees.

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to this additional ROADM component so it can be used to

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Figure 6, A 2 Degree ROADM Network Element Built


Using 1x2 WSS ROADM Components with additional 1x2 ROAD
components coupled in for future expansion

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Figure 7, A 4 Degree ROADM Network Element Built


Using 1x2 WSS ROADM Components

Note that the 2 1x2 WSS ROADM components coupled together

This technique of coupling together ROADM components

for each degree now have a combined 4 ports allowing them

works quite well but there is a point where the number of smaller

to act as a virtual 1x4 ROADM component. The first 1x2

ROADM components necessary to emulate a larger ROADM

ROADM component of each degree is used to add and drop

component costs more than the larger ROADM component.

channels for that degree as well as connect to one other

But in most cases the benefits of being able to scale cost far

degree and the second 1x2 ROADM component is used to

outweigh that risk. The figures 8 and 9 show an example (using

provide a path for all channels to the other 2 degrees not

the Ekinops 360 scalable ROADM architecture) of the number

connected to by the first 1x2 ROADM component. In a real

of ROADM components needed to achieve 1 through 8 degree

system, each ROADM component would be encapsulated in

ROADM network elements as it relates to the type of ROADM

a module and the Splitter/Coupler would be encapsulated in

component used and the relative cost of each solution

a module. This architecture allows Service Providers to

(1 through 8 degree ROADM network elements).

incrementally add these components and the ability to scale


their ROADM capability and cost as necessary to accommodate
revenue bearing traffic.
Modules
needed at
2 degrees

Modules
needed at
3 degrees

Modules
needed at
4 degrees

Modules
needed at
5 degrees

Modules
needed at
6 degrees

Modules
needed at
7 degrees

Modules
needed at
8 degrees

ROADM 1x2

15

18

28

32

ROADM 1x4

10

12

14

16

ROADM 1x8

Build
Using

Figure 8, Scalability of ROADM, Number of components necessary to construct various size ROADM network elements

EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

21/01/09

14:56

Page 5

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK
ROADM component and scale it using 1x2 ROADM components

Cost of ROADM Components

ROADM 1x2

in the case that the ROADM network element is initially


ROADM 1x4

4 degrees. In addition, one must consider the average ROADM


ROADM 1x8

network element size in a network when selecting the ROADM


component to build with. The following chart shows how different
distributions of ROADM network elements of different degrees
effect cost of ROADM components in the network:

8
Cost of ROADM Components

Degrees
Figure 9, Relative cost of ROADM components
in different degree ROADM network elements
when using various ROADM components to build them

When looking at the cost of a single ROADM network element


as depicted in the chart above, one might deduce that it is best
to always use 1x2 ROADM components to build a network. It
scales the most incrementally and only presents risk if the

Using 1x2 ROADM


Components
Using 1x4 ROADM
Components
Using 1x8 ROADM
Components

ROADM network element is more than 6 degrees which will

Mix of ROADM network elements

likely be a small percentage of the time. What the chart does

5% at 8 degrees,
25% at 4 degrees,
70% at 2 degrees,

not show however is that with the splitter/coupler technique,


different ROADM components can be mixed. So for instance,

15% at 8 degrees,
45% at 4 degrees,
40% at 2 degrees,

40% at 8 degrees,
50% at 4 degrees,
10% at 2 degrees,

based on the data above, one might want to start with a 1x4

Figure 10, Comparative cost of ROADM components


based on distribution of ROADM Network Elements

One can see from the figure 10 that if the network leans heavily

components actually cost less at a later date even if the price

toward lower degree, ROADM network elements, one should

remains the same given that the value of money declines.

build with 1x2 ROADM components, if the network leans

In addition, differed payment means the money can be used

toward higher degree network elements, one should build with

for other investments that provide return or money can sit in

1x4 degree ROADM network elements. It is also apparent that

the bank and earn interest. One can see that the 1x2 and 1x4

building with 1x8 ROADM components will rarely make sense.

ROADM components provide a far better incremental growth

When making the decision to build out a network, one must

strategy. The splitter/coupler technique for building ROADMs

also consider how long it will take to build ROADM network

is clearly a Pay as you Grow strategy. Even if there is some

elements to higher degrees and therefore how long it will take

risk that the network will in the end have a larger distribution of

for having utilized a higher degree ROADM component to pay-

high degree ROADM network elements than expected causing

off (i.e. to get to the size where having utilized the larger

additional cost, the benefit of the ability to invest incrementally as

ROADM component is cheaper than having built with smaller

the network returns revenue and the ability to defer purchases

ROADM components). This is particularly important given that

to a later date far outweigh the risk. This type of incremental

cost of money declines over time (which is not reflected in the

investment certainly makes sense from the stand point of

chart) meaning that if one chooses to build more incrementally

return on investment in your business.

using smaller ROADM components, incremental ROADM

EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

19/01/09

12:30

Page 6

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK
And finally, the splitter/coupler technique can also be optimized

Another implementation of the splitter/coupler technique is for

per ROADM network element given that different size ROADM

future proofing fixed filter and fixed OADM drop sites so that

components can be mixed and that one can tactically make

they can later be upgraded, in service, to ROADM sites. This

decisions on what ROADM component to use next as ROADM

is useful if the use of ROADMs is cost prohibitive for a service

network elements add degrees based on the cost of adding the

provider but the service provider wants the option to install

incremental degree vs. the latest knowledge on how big the

them in the future, perhaps when the price comes down. The

ROADM network element is likely to grow.

figure below shows a fixed filter site and that same fixed filter
site upgraded to a ROADM network element utilizing our
splitter/coupler design.
2 degree Fixed Filter Site
Upgraded to ROADM network element

2 degree Fixed Filter Site

Degree 2 ROADM

Degree 2 ROADM

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Local
Add/Drop

Local
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Figure 11, Add Drop Site using fixed filters with Splitter/Couplers
in place for future ROADM upgrade

1 x 2 WSS

Balance of channels not dropped


diverted to 1 x 2 ROADM components

Coupler

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Add/Drop

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East Channels

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOM4

PMOSC

East Channels

1 x 2 WSS

EKINOPS
PM Series

EKINOPS
PM Series

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOSC

Coupler

West Channels

PMOA

PMOA

Degree 2

Local
Add/Drop

West Channels

PMOA

PMOA

Degree 2

Local
Add/Drop

PM1005

Coupler

PM1004

EKINOPS
PM Series

PM1001

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOA

EKINOPS
PM Series

PM1001

EKINOPS
PM Series

PM1001

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOM4

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOSC

PM Series

EKINOPS
PM Series

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOA

PM Series

EKINOPS
PM Series

EKINOPS
PM Series

PMOA

Degree 1
PMOA

PMOA

PMOA

PMOSC

PMOM4

PM1001

PM1001

PM1001

PM1004

PM253

PM1008

PM1005

Figure 12, Add Drop Site upgraded


to 2 degree ROADM using Splitter/Couplers

The above figure 12 provides a service provider the option to upgrade to a ROADM network element at a later date deferring the cost of
installing the expensive ROADM components. This upgrade is not service-disruptive and is particularly useful if the route is not protected.
In this example, 1x2 ROADM components are utilized to upgrade a fixed filter to a 2 Degree ROADM. Higher degree ROADM components
could have been utilized to make this a higher degree ROADM network element if desired. Just like in the previous examples, ROADM
components can also be built with splitters/couplers in order to allow this ROADM network element to be upgraded to a higher number of
degrees in the future.

EKINOPS_WP_ROADM:Mise en page 1

19/01/09

12:31

Page 7

APPLICATION NOTE

BUILDING
A COST EFFECTIVE,
AFFORDABLE,
AND SCALABLE

ROADM
BASED OPTICAL
NETWORK
IN CONCLUSION
ROADM technology is extremely flexible and offers a number of values such as eliminating up front complex planning and the
future promise for true optical mesh protection. But while it offers these benefits, ROADM technology is still relatively expensive
compared to traditional add drop technology. It is important for Service Providers to be able to scale their investment in technology
as revenue bearing traffic pays for it. In addition, by implementing the splitter/combiner technique, Service Providers can easily
maintain the option to deploy and benefit from ROADMs even if they choose not to deploy them initially. This technique offers a
remarkable balance of cost vs. flexibility with virtually no limit on scalability

About Ekinops
Ekinops is a leading designer and supplier of next generation

Using the Ekinops 360 carrier-grade system, operators can

optical transport equipment for service providers and

increase transport capacity of their networks CWDM,

enterprise customers. The Ekinops 360 Dynamic, Multi-

DWDM, Ethernet, ESCON, Fiber Channel, SONET/SDH, and

Reach Transport System provides DWDM and CWDM on

uncompressed video (HD-SDI, SD-SDI, ASI) through the

a single platform that addresses Metro, Regional, and Long

industrys most efficient aggregation of services.

Haul applications. The Ekinops 360 system relies on the


innovative, programmable Ekinops T-Chip (TRANSPORT ON

The company is headquartered in Lannion, France, with

offices in Europe, the USA and Asia.

CHIP TECHNOLOGY) that enables Fast, Flexible, and Cost-effective


service delivery for building high speed optical networks.

Ekinops APAC
+65 6829 2156
sales.asia@ekinops.net

Ekinops Americas
+1 (310) 494 0032
sales.us@ekinops.net

Application Note: ROADM based Optical Network EKINOPS SAS 01/2009

Ekinops EMEA
+33 (0) 149 970 404
sales.eu@ekinops.net

:: To learn more about Ekinops solutions, please visit www.ekinops.net