Leading the Way: Insights from the Kore-Tek Leadership Team
This is a series of deep dive Q & A sessions with Kore-Tek Optical Network Specialists providing their insights and perspectives on building, implementing, and operationally maintaining critical network infrastructure. In this edition, we catch up with Kore-Tek’s Director of Nokia Field Engineering Services, who discusses Kore-Tek’s work with the Nokia 1830 Optical Solutions, Network Integration, Interoperability, and the future of Nokia Optical and IP Convergence.
Q: Can you please describe your role at Kore-Tek as Director of Engineering Services for Nokia?
I manage the technical business partnership at Kore-Tek to support Nokia’s Optical Advanced Services Business Unit, which is helping their Tier 1 Service Provider customers build massive Nokia 1830 backbone networks in North America.
Q: How has your role evolved over the past couple of years from launching the Nokia Business Practice as an engineer to becoming a leader in Kore-Tek and Nokia for field engineering service delivery?
Yes, I started as the first Nokia Certified Engineer at Kore-Tek almost three years ago. Initially, I was responsible for executing and delivering on-field engineering projects. A short time later, I was the team lead for engineering at Nokia, where I was responsible for building and maintaining the Nokia business at Kore-Tek from an engineering perspective. During this period, I was the leader responsible for adding additional internal engineering resources to support Nokia, which helped increase our ability to deliver engineering expertise to Nokia’s largest service provider customers. After a couple of years of solid growth, I moved into a role where I could help hire, train, lead, and support both Nokia and Kore-Tek engineers to ensure technical success and ROI on large complex Nokia 1830 Optical Network deployments. Currently, I’m the Director of Nokia Field Engineering and work with the Senior Director of Field Engineering to ensure Kore-Tek has experienced Nokia technical personnel proficiently trained to support Nokia’s projects and customers.
Q: Can you provide an overview of the Nokia 1830 optical product line and its key features?
The 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) is a family of DWDM multiservice, multilayer P-OTN transport platforms that provide efficient transport at any scale, from compact access to the converged Optical Transport Network (OTN)/DWDM core. Nokia’s customers can continuously scale their optical networks to meet unpredictable traffic demands, maximizing network capacity and revenue.
Q: Why does Nokia have such a legacy of success in the service provider industry?
Nokia optical products’ technology comes from innovative Alcatel-Lucent, whose Optical Transport products are widely deployed in the US Carrier Service Providers arena. As it impacts our business, this offers Kore-Tek the opportunity to participate in large projects, such as: greenfield and brownfield deployments, and long-term professional services support.
Q: How would you describe the partnership between Kore-Tek and Nokia Optical? What value does this collaboration bring to both organizations?
It is a collaborative partnership between Nokia and Kore-Tek to provide and deliver professional services to Nokia’s Optical-Transport Networking customers. Nokia treats Kore-Tek’s Field Integrators Engineers as their own in-house Integrators Engineers by providing access to products’ user guides, fee-free training, and online collaboration tools such as Nokia Email, SharePoint, Support Portal, Student Portal, and inclusive an Employee ID number just outside of their payroll system. The partnership allows Nokia to outsource its professional services and benefits Kore-Tek in exposure to the industry’s leading service providers and OEM players, enhancing Field Engineering optical transport skills and generating long-term revenue streams.
Q: In what ways does Kore-Tek support Nokia with field engineering resources? Could you provide examples of projects where your team has supported Nokia Optical deployments?
Essentially, Kore-Tek’s Field Engineering fills in Nokia Optical Integration Organization, Kore-Tek’s field engineers are Nokia’s Integrator Engineers representing and executing Nokia Optical Integration Professional Services with the 1830 PSS Product, such as:
- Greenfield and Brownfield Hardware Deployments.
- Integration projects such Migrations and Activations of customers’ traffic within the 1830 PSS Platform.
- Platform software upgrades and network enhancement projects to support Nokia’s customers to update their Nokia Transport Networks roadmap to make it market ready for new services.
- Fiber Characterization.
Q: What are some common challenges faced while implementing and integrating Nokia Optical solutions? How does Kore-Tek’s field engineering team address these challenges?
Nokia is continuously innovating the 1830 PSS commissioning and provisioning software tools, which requires an effort within Kore-Tek to lead the field engineering team to keep up with these innovations and changes, demonstrating to Nokia its readiness to support ongoing and upcoming projects.
Q: Can you discuss any notable success stories or specific projects where Kore-Tek’s field engineering resources have significantly supported Nokia Optical? What were the outcomes achieved?
A Major National Tier 1 Service Provider 1830 PSS Deployment and Network Integration project is a successful experience that catapulted Kore-Tek to be a primary vendor for its Optical Network Integration (ONI) Professional Services organization. Upon completion of this project, Kore-Tek proved to Nokia its technical expertise and ability to:
- Deploy (Greenfield) the 1830 PSS Platform throughout the whole SP’s territory in one of the largest states in the country, representing more than 150 Network Elements.
- Deploy and provision hardware in live Network Elements to augment capacity (Brownfield).
- Post Deployment network integration professional services to support Nokia and the Service Provider to prepare and execute migration plans to remove capacity from legacy optical infrastructure such as Ciena 6500 and Cisco ONS 15454. Kore-Tek’s expertise in Juniper and Cisco routing hardware, and in Ciena and Cisco ONS optical network elements supported the Service Provider to accurately inventory and correlate port facilities cross-connects to build migrations plans’ cutover sheets.
Q: How does Kore-Tek ensure its field engineering resources are well-trained and equipped to handle the complexities of Nokia Optical deployments? Are there any certification programs or continuous training initiatives in place?
Kore-Tek proved to Nokia the technical value of its field engineering team. Therefore, Nokia added Kore-Tek field engineering members to its Optical Network Integration (ONI) organization’s roster as critical resources to execute and deliver its professional services. In essence, Kore-Tek’s field engineers have access to the same 1830 PSS product’s training and technical documentation as Nokia’s in-house ONI’s employees.
Kore-Tek leadership has instituted protocols to ensure our Field Engineering resources are current with the 1830 PSS enhancements and upgrades. These certification protocols have enabled Kore-Tek’s field engineers with the necessary skills and make Nokia understand our value as ONI’s resources, Kore-Tek’s field engineering resources are Nokia Optical Networking Professional Certified (ONC-Professional).
Q: What prospects or developments in the Nokia 1830 optical product line that Kore-Tek is particularly excited about? How do you see this shaping the future of optical networking?
At Kore-Tek, we are particularly interested in the extension of the 1830 PSS Packet Optical & Wavelight product line into the Enterprise Data Center Interconnectivity (DCI) and Enterprise Core-Edge Metro Networks industry segments to support the Enterprise ecosystem to achieve independence of capacity leasing needs from Service Providers, allowing the Enterprise customers to scale access to the cloud more efficiently. These enhancements represent an opportunity for Kore-Tek to augment its managed services.
Q: How does Kore-Tek collaborate with Nokia Optical to ensure seamless integration and interoperability with other networking technologies and solutions?
Kore-Tek has proven to Nokia its field engineering expertise in Cisco ONS/NCS, Infinera/Coriant, and Ciena/Nortel optical products, as well as in Cisco and Juniper IP Routing products, which Nokia can rely on to bid to its customers’ vendor diversification plans, to deploy Nokia 1830 PSS Optical solutions and integrate it to the customers’ legacy optical networks and higher OSI-level networks.
Q: Can you please share your vision for the future of the partnership between Kore-Tek and Nokia Optical? What new opportunities or areas of collaboration do you see on the horizon?
Kore-Tek shall encourage its field engineering resources to further train and grow their skills in the 1830 PSS Management System (NFM-T) and Planning Tool (EPT) to support Nokia’s ONI organization with Remote Engineering Professional Services. Diversifying and increasing the types of functionalities in which Kore-Tek will provide support:
- Assisting Nokia’s customers in deploying their Nokia 1830 Optical network infrastructure by remotely providing support.
- MOPs generation.
- NFM-T remote support to assist Nokia’s customers with live network changes or capacity migration projects.
Q: With the increasing convergence of Optical and IP technologies, how does Nokia address this trend in its product offerings? Could you provide insights into how Nokia’s solutions integrate Optical and IP functionalities?
Nokia’s Fifth-generation Photonic Service Engines (PSE-V) coherent solutions is a family of coherent digital optic (DCO) transceiver modules that deliver maximum performance and lowest power to address the broadest range of end-to-end network applications optimally:
- With advanced high-gain SD-FEC delivering increased performance with significantly lower overhead, the PSE-Vs jointly optimize FEC and PCS, approaching the Shannon to limit across the most demanding capacity reach applications. This enables PSE-Vs to support the scaling of long-haul networks to 600Gb/s up to 1,500km of distance and transport at 400Gb/s per wavelength over practically any ultra-long-haul and subsea fiber span. PSE-Vs are optimized for 100GHz WDM channel spacings over highly flexible CDC-F wavelength-switched networks. This enables spectrally efficient operation and seamless upgrades over existing WDM channel plans in Open Line Systems.
- Router-pluggable QSFP-DD or QSFP 400G transceivers supporting 400ZR+ for metro-regional DCI, and aggregation and core IP-optical networks, 400ZR for access DCI, or 100G/200G pluggable transceivers deployed to the “Coherent Edge” networks.
Q: How is Kore-Tek preparing its engineering team to support the convergence of Optical and IP in Nokia products? Are any specific training or skill development programs in place to ensure expertise in both domains?
As mentioned before, Kore-Tek’s leadership has managed with Nokia’s ONI management to offer to Kore-Tek’s field engineers fee-free training opportunities as offered to Nokia’s employees. Kore-Tek’s field engineers are encouraged to learn Nokia’s Network Service Platform (NSP). NSP is a comprehensive platform that simplifies building multi-vendor networks that combine IP, MPLS, optical, and microwave technologies across multiple domains. Allowing operators to integrate their IP routing and optical transport networks into a unified infrastructure with Nokia technology, establishing a converged multi-layer network infrastructure with unified control and open, software-defined networking (SDN) interfaces:
- Automatically discover accurate topology at all layers and cross-domain interconnect information for effective engineering planning.
- Ensure that true path diversity is present via deep insights into the optical network architecture.
- Coordinate control of restoration and network maintenance activities to prevent unwarranted impacts on end-user traffic.
Founded by optical network specialists, Kore-Tek is widely recognized for their unparalleled expertise in critical network infrastructure, providing everything from fiber network architectures to multi-vendor, best-of-breed optical networking, routing and switching implementations.
Trusted and credentialed by major equipment manufacturers and technology service providers — and backed by decades of experience — Kore-Tek engineers have planned, designed, and managed some of the most relied-upon public and private networks in use today, improving network operations and making complex, next generation digital transformations, simple.
Businesses depend on networks. Network professionals depend on Kore-Tek.