Infinera details terabit networking strategy

Ahead of a presentation on the subject at the Layer123 Terabit Optical Networking Conference in Cannes April 12, Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN) has begun to describe how it plans to support 1-Tbps optical network transport in the 2013-2014 time frame.

Ahead of a presentation on the subject at the Layer123 Terabit Optical Networking Conference in Cannes April 12, Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN) has begun to describe how it plans to support 1-Tbps optical network transport in the 2013-2014 time frame. The strategy entails the ability to match modulation format to the application, flexible grid capabilities, and, of course, photonic integrated circuits (PICs).

Serge Melle, vice president of technical marketing at Infinera, told Lightwave on April 6 that much of the 1-Tbps work will build on the company’s current 500-Gbps PIC effort. This 500-Gbps capability is scheduled to ship in Digital Optical Network platforms in the first half of next year. A salient part of the 1-Tbps strategy will roll out at the same time – the ability to select the optimal modulation format for a given application. The feature, which Infinera calls FlexCoherent, is an acknowledgement that network planners will face tradeoffs between capacity and reach when plotting 1-Tbps (and, likely, 100-Gbps) links. The FlexCoherent feature gives planners the ability to change modulation formats from hop to hop, if necessary, to support both reach and data rates over their existing fiber plant. Melle listed QPSK, 8QAM, 16QAM, and BPSK as among the likely options.

New at 1 Tbps will be FlexChannel, which, as its name implies, provides flexible channel planning and support of the multi-carrier transport scheme (a term Melle preferred to optical orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) that will be necessary to transmit a 1-Tbps stream through existing fiber. FlexChannel will enable transmission off the standard ITU wavelength spectrum grid, which will both accommodate the greater spectrum 1-Tbps transmission will require as well as enable these streams to coexist with lower-speed traffic without interference.

Both capabilities will augment Infinera’s 1-Tbps PICs (see "Infinera team achieves one terabit per second data rate on single integrated photonic chip"). Melle says that the company envisions the ability to scale to 25-Tbps capacity per fiber using the combination of next-generation PICs, FlexCoherent, and FlexConnect.

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