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Ciena acquires Benu and Tibit for PON, edge

Ciena acquires Benu for advanced subscriber management and Tibit for pluggable PON technology that connects to existing hardware. Acquisitions bring engineers during shortage.

Ciena has acquired Benu Networks and agreed to acquire Tibit Communications. Benu is expected to bolster Ciena's advanced subscriber management technology for service providers, and Tibit could improve the company's passive optical network system.

The acquisitions, disclosed last week without the financial terms, are important for Ciena to stay competitive among the many companies supplying infrastructure to telecom operators, said Chris Antlitz, telecom principal analyst at Technology Business Research Inc.

"These acquisitions are very much in line with Ciena staying relevant and evolving with its market," Antlitz said.

The acquisitions signal several telecom trends, including the evolution of the network's access layer, the growing importance of edge computing and the societal push for speedy internet access.

Ciena's acquisitions of Tibit and Benu also bring skilled workers to innovate in these areas, Antlitz said. Personnel will likely include engineers, which are difficult to find.

"Getting skilled labor has been a challenge across the economy, but especially in the technology industry," Antlitz said.

Ciena will use Tibit's products to add passive optical network (PON) capabilities to its switches and routers, said Julie Kunstler, broadband access principal consultant at Ovum. Tibit has developed pluggable optics for networking gear sold to telcos and cable operators.

"Tibit has enabled Ciena to very rapidly add PON capabilities and to sell those PON capabilities to the telco and cable operators," Kunstler said.

PON has many advantages, she added: It is fiber-efficient because it is a point-to-multipoint technology. And it is also passive, so it consumes much less energy than a point-to-point active Ethernet topology.

Ciena acquired Benu Networks to strengthen its subscriber management. Subscriber management is software used for managing subscriber information, Antlitz said.

Ciena has a cloud-native management and orchestration software called Blue Planet. It orchestrates and manages resources in the network, he said. The acquisition of Benu Networks contributes to that management.

"It will help Ciena build out its software offerings for that next-generation network," Antlitz said.

Blue Planet also brings automation capabilities to MEC services to aid CSPs and cloud operators with lifecycle management.

Ciena's goals to improve subscriber management services and extend PON access make connectivity easier for end users. This is also a mission of the U.S. government. There are federal programs to fund the telecom industry's internet infrastructure investments. These investments support fiber infrastructure, fixed line and fixed wireless, to name a few.

"The government's basically making it more economically feasible to deploy infrastructure where it might not be economically feasible from a private-sector perspective," he said.

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