Why Traditional LAN Switch Architecture Is Not Good For Software Defined Networking

Last week, our blog covered how the US Federal Government continues to deploy traditional copper-based LANs while preparing to move forward with Software Defined Networking (SDN) functionality inside buildings and across campus. Before we tackle why Optical LAN is the best architecture for SDN, let’s look at why deploying SDN functionality as a bolt-on overlay to traditional copper-based LAN switches racked-and-stacked in datacenters and telecommunications rooms is not smart:


  • The underpinning of traditional LAN switches has only 99.9% network uptime – that’s tested and confirmed 8-hours downtime over every year
  • Complex full-functioning switches spread across buildings and campus network means distributed intelligence and management at every port – requiring local provisioning, troubleshooting and management of complicated higher-level IP and Layer-3 functions at every port
  • These access, aggregation, distribution and workgroup switches, that are complex full-functioning devices, introduce points of penetration and extreme vulnerability hurting overall security mitigation
  • Sustainability, security, reliability and operational efficiencies can all be improved by reducing numbers of switches – racks-and-stacks and meshed switch architecture is not optimal
  • Adding SDN protocols to existing full-functioning switches introduces additional security, operation and reliability complexities – plus high human touch exacerbates the problems
  • The US Federal Government Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) and Unified Capabilities Requirements (UCR) does not cover SDN

In our Software Defined LAN Solution Overviewand in subsequent blogs, we’ll expand on why OLAN is the best architecture for SDN, how Tellabs OLAN already offers SDN-like functions and how OLAN provides a path forward for future open-source standards-based SDN.


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