Today, Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) are proprietary systems built by each supplier with proprietary software inside the network elements and outside of them, to plan, manage and maintain the system. Every time a Network Provider selects a new technology platform, new software and hardware integration and testing is necessary to integrate the proprietary system into the network. As a result, the integration process is lengthy and the technology life time of ROADMs inside the network is long, reducing competition and innovation.
Another aspect is that, while optical lasers are tunable, today's ROADMs still have a lot of fixed internal connections, such as pre-defined wavelength ports or directions. In a software-defined networking (SDN) world, the connections between ROADM elements should be remotely configurable through open interfaces without the need of human intervention.
The Open ROADM project has at its core the drive towards faster pace innovation and competition, as well as increased volumes through mass adoption, coupled with optical layer flexibility and software control to overcome all the disadvantages of today's ROADM systems mentioned above.