Key Takeaways from Cisco PONC 2023
In this blog
Cisco's Packet Optical Networking Conference (PONC) 2023 delivered insights into the adoption of routed optical networking (RON) and what we can expect to see from the architecture in the future.
From exciting new products to thought-provoking sessions on AI/ML and post-quantum encryption, here are key takeaways from three of our experts who attended the event.
Cisco's PONC event was back in person this year for the first time since the pandemic, and I must say it was great to be back! The two-day event was packed with the usual updates and demos on RON. This included coherent optics, automation for RON and current trends in the optical market. It also included some new topics such as AI/ML and post-quantum encryption.
While the updates were beneficial, the most impactful part for me was seeing and catching up with people that I hadn't seen in person for years. Having the opportunity to chat in the hallways during breaks and lunch is something you can't replicate remotely and provided the opportunity to hear directly about current challenges and pain points.
If you've never attended PONC before and have the chance to attend in the future, I highly recommend it!
Cisco's PONC event offered valuable insights into industry trends, technological advancements and specific product updates, including their latest ROADM in the NCS1K line. While we had previously heard about Cisco's upcoming NCS1014, witnessing the product in their labs brought it to life.
Engaging in private conversations with Cisco's business unit leadership allowed us to align with their vision of RON as a multivendor approach, not limited to Cisco-only environments. During these discussions, we explored strategies for proactively updating legacy networks to prepare them for higher-speed, lower-cost services while looking out for our customers' best interest.
The conference emphasized Cisco's commitment to simplifying optical transport through integrated optics, consolidating control planes and automation. The in-person venue provided excellent networking opportunities with members of Cisco business units, sales leadership, partners and customers on various fronts.
2023 Cisco PONC was my first opportunity to see and be a part of what my team, the WWT Core Networking team, is focused on. As large of an opportunity area that we support, the topics of RON, trends in the coherent optics market, AI/ML for networking and post-quantum encryption were top of my mind when listening to experts speak to each area.
RON is gathering momentum. The use cases shared cover a variety of market segments and are being adopted by all — commercial, public sector and service providers. It continues to be the driver to solve customer challenges.
The coherent optics market is growing and is competitive. The technology is continuing to evolve and will continue to provide growth as the standards and capacity continue to evolve. Developing roadmaps with our customers to help with their business challenges using coherent optics is our continued focus.
AI/ML for networking is another area that Cisco is very focused on. The ability to provide customers insight into their networks as well as valuable trend analysis will allow more preventative decisions (e.g., predict traffic flows, generate smarter analytics, monitor network health and tighten security measures).
Post-quantum encryption was covered during the conference. It addresses the vulnerabilities of current encryption methods against potential future quantum computer attacks. Cisco plans on utilizing PQC algohos by CY25. This continues to show the investment Cisco is putting into security and how important it is to stay up to date on our customer's vulnerabilities.