Ciena Introduces Encryption at the Optical Layer

January 20th, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

With the world’s growing awareness of the security of its data, or lack thereof, 2016 seems likely to see a lot of attention paid to new efforts to keep out prying eyes. Today, Ciena took a stab at the problem way down at the optical layer with a new encryption solution.

Ciena has launched WaveLogic Encryption, aiming to make it pointless to tap into networks to spy on data en route. The heavy lifting is done by their WaveLogic 3 Extreme chipset, which can do the job regardless of the traffic protocol at higher layers at 100G with QPSK or 200G with 16QAM, and with ‘virtually no added latency’.

A few years ago I’d have said that intercepting traffic at such rates to pluck out useful information would be like tapping a fire hose in hopes of photographing a fish as it swims by now and then. But with the Snowden/NSA revelations that this sort of thing was actually being done to some major content providers, it is definitely a weak point.

Ciena’s encryption (and that of other vendors that will surely follow) may shore that up, returning the focus back toward the internet’s nodes themselves. Of course, the back doors found in Juniper’s router software demonstrate that those looking to listen in already know that is a soft spot still.

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Categories: Security · Telecom Equipment

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