The aim of cognition in optical networks is to introduce intelligence into the control plane that allows for autonomous end-to-end performance optimization and minimization of required human intervention, particularly targeted at heterogeneous network scenarios. A cognitive network observes, learns, and makes informed decisions based on its current status and knowledge about past decisions and their results. To test the operation of cognitive algorithms in real time, we created the first operational testbed of a cognitive optical network based on the Cognitive Heterogeneous Reconfigurable Optical Network (CHRON) architecture. In this experiment, an intelligent control plane, enabled by a cognitive decision system (CDS), was successfully combined with a flexible data plane. The testbed was used to test and validate different scenarios, demonstrating benefits obtained by network cognition, particularly lightpath establishment and a tear-down scenario, improved failure restoration time, cognitive virtual topology reconfiguration, and a modulation format change.
Journal of Optical Communications and Networking, 2015, Vol 7, Issue 2