Infinera debuts ATN metro platform

OCTOBER 19, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Infinera has finally unveiled its long-rumored metro box. The ATN metro WDM edge platform is designed to bring the benefits of Infinera’s Digital Optical Networks architecture to the edge of the network -- but without the use of Infinera’s famous photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology.

OCTOBER 19, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Infinera has finally unveiled its long-rumored metro box. The ATN metro WDM edge platform is designed to bring the benefits of Infinera’s Digital Optical Networks architecture to the edge of the network -- but without the use of Infinera’s famous photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology.

According to Paul Morkel, senior director of product marketing at Infinera, the introduction of the ATN gives Infinera an integrated play across a variety of network niches, from long-haul to regional to submarine (thanks to the company’s recent introduction of the submarine line terminal version of the flagship DTN platform) and, now, the metro edge. The ATN is designed to operate in metro access, second-mile aggregation, and some smaller metro core applications.

The 3RU modular platform offers 40-channel DWDM and eight-channel CWDM support, optical add/drop, OTN client mapping, and “micro-EDFAs” for reach extension to 320 km in Release 1, with 480-km extension expected in the second release. The ATN uses pluggable optics to supply SONET/SDH, Ethernet, OTN, and Fibre Channel interfaces. Working in congress with the DTN, the box will support Infinera’s bandwidth virtualization capability.

Morkel says that Infinera has been shipping the ATN since August and currently has six customers. (U.S. regional operator Deltacom is the only customer identified so far.) The customers are using the platform to support a variety of service scenarios; Morkel described applications including commercial services extension of an existing DTN-based network, DSLAM backhaul, point-to-point data center interconnect, and providing secondary rings off of a core DTN-based ring in a metro CATV network.

Morkel says that the company is “looking” at wireless backhaul applications, but allows that Infinera currently doesn’t offer the complementary network interface device that such applications would require. He also suggests that ROADM capabilities might be added to the ATN down the road as ROADM technology’s costs decline further.

The platform does not incorporate Infinera’s PIC technology. The company went for a more conventional design based on discrete components because Infinera’s in-house PICs are intended for applications requiring multiple wavelengths operating at 10 Gbps and higher -- more horsepower than the ATN would require, Morkel says.

“Infinera’s ATN metro platform effectively doubles Infinera’s addressable market while also strengthening its value proposition,” said Ovum Vice-President for Network Infrastructure Dana Cooperson. “In-house development of the platform promises capital and expense efficiencies from tight coupling of the ATN and DTN in critical areas like service and network management and physical interworking, but the platform stands on its own as well.”

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