Awareness of optical network performance and its accurate prediction enable squeezing of margins allocated for stable operation. We discuss the potential of online performance assessment by leveraging bandwidth-variable transponders in flexible optical networks, and quantify its benefit by simulating the total capacity of typical long-haul networks. An experimental analysis in a system lab and a field trial demonstrate the viability and remarkable accuracy of the presented technologies in a live network. Finally, we analyze the impact of disaggregated networks on performance awareness.
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