Virgin Media tests Infinera’s XR optics on PON infrastructure

March 4, 2021
The results indicated the ability to support symmetrical transmission rates as high as 400 Gbps over the fiber to the premises (FTTP) network, Infinera says.

Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) has announced a second major trial of its point-to-multipoint XR optics technology in the UK. Following a demonstration with BT (see “BT models, lab trials Infinera’s XR optics”), the company has revealed a trial with Virgin Media that saw XR optics applied to a PON infrastructure in Reading, UK. The results indicated the ability to support symmetrical transmission rates as high as 400 Gbps over the fiber to the premises (FTTP) network, Infinera says.

The XR optics concept, introduced in the fall of 2019 and still in the prototype phase, leverages the ability to share the capacity of a single coherent port among multiple endpoints (see “Infinera unveils XR optics single-source coherent point-to-multipoint transmission technology”). As a PON infrastructure works along somewhat similar principles, XR optics would appear to be a natural fit for such networks.

Virgin Media has been willing to trial a variety of technologies to boost the capacity of its PONs; for example, the company trialed 10G PON in 2019 with ARRIS (now part of CommScope; see “Virgin Media trials 10G-EPON with ARRIS”). “Our next-generation network already offers gigabit connectivity to more than 7 million homes, but with data use and demand for hyperfast speeds surging, we’re continually investing in our network to prepare for whatever the future brings,” commented Jeanie York, chief technology and information officer at Virgin Media. “Innovations like XR optics ensure our customers continue to benefit from the UK’s fastest widely available speeds, pave the way for future network upgrades, and help support the rollout of multi-gigabit broadband and mobile services.”

“The trial with Virgin Media provides a solid proof point that Infinera’s XR optics technology can be seamlessly applied to existing networks,” added Dave Welch, Infinera’s chief innovation officer and co-founder. “This represents a radical shift in the way networks can be built, promising a more flexible and sustainable way to meet the ever increasing need to transmit more data at higher speeds.”

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