Infinera debuts DTN-X packet-optical transport platform with 500G PIC, OTN/MPLS support

Sept. 15, 2011
A new photonic integrated circuit (PIC) deserves a new platform, apparently. Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) unveiled today the DTN-X packet-optical transport platform, which serves as the first implementation of the company’s much discussed 500 Gbps photonic integrated circuit (PIC).

[UPDATED] A new photonic integrated circuit (PIC) deserves a new platform, apparently. Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) unveiled today the DTN-X packet-optical transport platform, which serves as the first implementation of the company’s much discussed 500-Gbps photonic integrated circuit (PIC). The DTN-X is Infinera’s response to the IP/optical convergence debate. However, rather than requiring carriers to choose between Optical Transport Network (OTN) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) for transport control, the DTN-X is designed to support both – OTN now and MPLS in the future.

The system is designed to provide large amounts of switching and transport capacity. The DTN-X will support 5 Tbps of OTN switching in a single bay upon its release in the first half of next year, with a roadmap towards 100 Tbps at some future date. The dimensions, as well as the availability date, of the MPLS switching capacity were not disclosed.

At an analyst meeting held at Infinera’s corporate headquarters to mark the announcement, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, and Co-Founder Dave Welch says that as carriers look to deploy packet-optical transport systems, the cost and efficiency of switched DWDM bandwidth becomes the most prominent metric for evaluating technology options. CEO Tom Fallon told the audience that Infinera believes it has a significant advantage over competing packet-optical transport systems in that the system’s switch capacity remains constant at 5 Gbps regardless of whether the system is in full switch mode or also accommodating pure DWDM traffic. This isn’t the case with competing packet-optical transport systems, Fallon asserted.

Meanwhile, the 500G PIC will offer its capacity in a single superchannel. The superchannel comprises 100-Gbps coherent channels, from which capacity can be provisioned as required, leveraging point-and-click provisioning software and GMPLS-based network control. Infinera says that as its PIC technology scales to 1 Tbps, so will the capacity of the individual superchannels the DTN-X can support, to create a total of 24 Gbps on a single fiber. The 500G PIC has already been demonstrated in a pair of trials, one by Interoute and the other recently with SEACOM (see “SEACOM demos 100-Gbps via Infinera 500-Gbps PIC”).

[UPDATE] The superchannels are narrow enough that they can share a fiber with other traffic. Infinera demonstrated the transmission of such a superchannel alongside a 40-Gbps signal as part of the announcement. Welch discussed the use of 1-Tbps superchannels using the company's next generation of PIC in 375 GHz of spectrum (see "Infinera team achieves one terabit per second data rate on single integrated photonic chip"). While we had previously reported that the 500-Gbps superchannel initially might be broader than that, Infinera informed us September 21 that the 500-Gbps superchannel actually will be 250 GHz wide. Infinera says that the DTN-X will support 8 Tbps per fiber via 16 superchannels.

The system also will leverage Infinera's FlexCoherent technology, which enables carriers to choose between DP-QPSK and DP-BPSK on a per-channel basis.

The DTN-X will be made available in two forms: a full-rack, multi-bay-ready chassis (the XTC-10) and a half-rack chassis (the XTC-4). Either way, the system’s design – particularly the use of the 500G PIC – will offer carriers packet-optical transport functionality in a package that will consume 50% less power and 33% less space than similarly scaled alternatives, asserts the company.

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