Infinera FlexCoherent to enable variable 40G/100G optical modulation formats

JANUARY 17, 2011 By Stephen Hardy -- Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) plans to enable carrier customers to choose which coherent optical modulation format they’d like to apply to a given 40-Gbps or 100-Gbps route. The company says customers will be able to use its new FlexCoherent technology to optimize their transmission formats for capacity, reach, and impairments.

JANUARY 17, 2011 By Stephen Hardy -- Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) plans to enable carrier customers to choose which coherent optical modulation format they’d like to apply to a given 40-Gbps or 100-Gbps route. The company says customers will be able to use its new FlexCoherent technology to optimize their transmission formats for capacity, reach, and impairments.

According to Infinera Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Dave Welch, the software-based FlexCoherent technology initially will enable carriers to choose between coherent polarization-multiplexed binary phase-shift keying (PM-BPSK) and quadrature phase-shift keying (PM-QPSK) when implementing 40- and 100-Gbps links. Welch estimates that, in a greenfield application, PM-QPSK would support approximately twice the capacity of PM-BPSK – but the latter would provide 3 to 5 dB of additional reach versus the former. Carriers can use FlexCoherent to choose the modulation format that best matches a route’s profile and requirements. FlexCoherent will work with multiple grid spacing capabilities on Infinera’s ILS line system.

Welch adds that, because of the capabilities of Infinera’s platforms, a signal traveling through an Infinera terrestrial mesh network could be transmitted using multiple formats. Infinera plans to add other modulation formats to the FlexCoherent palette, but Welch declined to reveal which formats the company has in mind.

Infinera has already conducted customer trials of the FlexCoherent technology in submarine network applications at both 40 and 100 Gbps, Welch says. The company currently plans to release 40-Gbps capabilities for its Digital Transport Network platforms around the middle of this year and 100-Gbps functionality in 2012. The 100-Gbps capability will leverage Infinera’s latest 500-Gbps photonic integrated circuit (PIC; see "Infinera, XO Communications field trial 100G transmission over 1348 km").

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