News Release

Cisco and CIENA Launch Initiative for Industry-Wide Optical Internetworking Forum

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- April 20, 1998 -- Cisco Systems, Inc.
Apr 20, 1998

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- April 20, 1998 -- Cisco Systems, Inc. and CIENA Corporation (Nasdaq: CIEN) today announced an industry-wide initiative to create the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), an open forum focused on accelerating the deployment of optical internetworks. The founding members of the initiative are AT&T, Bellcore, CIENA, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard Company, Qwest, Sprint and WorldCom. The OIF will provide a venue for equipment manufacturers, users and service providers to work together to identify and resolve issues and develop key specifications to ensure the interoperability of optical internetworks.

The OIF will complement the efforts of standards bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which have already begun to standardize facets of the optical internetworking layer. The OIF will identify opportunities in which early industry consensus can accelerate technology deployment and avoid a proliferation of vendor-specific approaches. Any specifications developed in this manner by the OIF will be provided as input to traditional standards bodies and other industry groups.

While the activities and direction of the OIF will be determined by the full OIF membership, Cisco and CIENA have outlined several areas that represent immediate opportunities to impact the evolution of optical internetworks. These areas include:

  • Integrated management of all layers of an optical internetwork
  • Data-optimized interfaces between internetworking and optical equipment
  • Coordinated protection and restoration between network layers

"The rapid development of optical internetworks is critical to meeting the exploding demand for data services," said Graeme Fraser, vice president of engineering and general manager for Cisco's Internet Service Provider Business Unit. "IP traffic volumes are quickly surpassing the capacities of circuit-oriented SONET/SDH equipment. This volume is driving a need for data equipment that can directly access the enormous capacity provided by optical technologies."

An optical internetwork is a data-optimized network infrastructure in whichswitches and routers have integrated, optical interfaces and are directly connected by fiber or optical network elements, such as dense wavelength division multiplexers (DWDM). DWDM is a core technology of the optical internetwork. Using DWDM for native broadband data transmission enables as much as one terabit (1,000 gigabits) of information to be carried by a single optical fiber. Optical internetworking supports much lower costs when compared to TDM solutions at equivalent capacities. DWDM carries many channels of information as different wavelengths, or "colors of light," on a single optical fiber.

"Continuing advances in optical technologies will give rise to an optical networking layer that can route wavelengths, or lightpaths, over complex optical network topologies," said Steve Alexander, CIENA's vice president and chief technology officer. "The OIF will focus on issues that affect direct interconnection of data internetworking equipment via optical networking technologies."

"Bellcore has been a leader in the advancement of optical transmission standards and looks forward to working in the OIF to advance optical and data network integration," said Casimir Skrzypczak, president of professional services at Bellcore.

Cisco and CIENA will host an OIF kickoff meeting at Networld+Interop trade show in Las Vegas on May 6, 1998, from 3:00 to 5:00pm, at the Las Vegas Hilton in conference rooms 1 and 2. The goals and charter of the organization will be provided to vendors and users interested in membership. The first meeting of the OIF membership is scheduled to be held in conjunction with SuperComm in Atlanta on June 8, 1998. At the first official meeting of the OIF membership, officers will be selected and the charter and work program for the organization will be developed.For more information on the Optical Internetworking Forum and membership, contact the OIF offices at (510) 608-5990 or Or visit via the Web site at


Based in Linthicum, Maryland, CIENA Corporation is a worldwide market leader of open architecture, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems for long-distance and local exchange carriers. CIENA's DWDM solutions include the MultiWave(R) 1600 and 4000 long-haul transport systems, WaveWatcher(R) network management software, the MultiWave Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer, the MultiWave Sentry(TM) enhanced long-distance transport system and the new MultiWave Firefly(TM) and MultiWave Metro(TM) short-haul systems. Through its Alta subsidiary, based in Norcross, GA, CIENA provides a range of engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) services for telecommunications service providers in the areas of transport, switching and wireless communications.

CIENA's DWDM equipment expands the carrying capacity of fiber optic networks by dividing the optical signal into several separate optical channels or wavelengths. An optical fiber without DWDM technology carries a single color of laser light, or a single wavelength, on which travels approximately 32,000 voice or data transmissions. CIENA's DWDM technology divides the single wavelength into multiple colors, or channels, thereby multiplying the capacity of the fiber by the number of channels and enabling service providers to expand bandwidth without the expensive process of adding more fibers. Additional information about CIENA can be found on its World Wide Website:

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