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I understand that iODN is for intelligent monitoring and management of Optical Distribution Networks, but then ASON (Auto-Switched Optical Networks) also appears to be... for intelligent monitoring and management of optical networks? Is iODN just a more advanced way of doing that than ASON? Are they the same thing? I'm at a loss here. :)

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iODN is a Huawei solution for fiber management. ASON is a collection of ITU specifications.
It's pretty likely that Huawei's solution is simply a repackaged version of the ITU standards, but I'm not familiar enough with the technologies to say with any certainty. Huawei is well known in my corner of the world for lousy products and underhanded marketing.

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