Infinera lays out 40G/100G coherent roadmap

May 21, 2010
MAY 20, 2010 By Stephen Hardy -- Infinera has announced its development plans for 40- and 100-Gbps capabilities using coherent technology. However, the company has significantly more enthusiasm for one than the other.

MAY 20, 2010 By Stephen Hardy -- Infinera has announced its development plans for 40- and 100-Gbps capabilities using coherent technology. However, the company has significantly more enthusiasm for one than the other.

That’s because the advent of commercially available coherent-enabled 100-Gbps systems in the next few years will put a lid on the market opportunity for 40-Gbps systems, Infinera sources told Lightwave today. The company plans to exploit the 100G opportunity through a combination of Infinera’s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology and dual-polarized quadrature phase-shift keying (DP-QPSK) with coherent detection, says CTO Drew Perkins. He says Infinera should begin delivering systems with this high-speed capability in 2012.

While the pairing of DP-QPSK and coherent detection parallels the path the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has pursued in developing its 100G DWDM implementation agreements, Perkins says the similarities largely end there. The OIF has focused on single-channel 100G modules that can be used as part of an overall multi-channel (e.g., 80-channel) DWDM system. Infinera’s next PIC, Perkins says, will offer five 100G channels on a single chip, which when used with Infinera’s ILS optical line system offers up to eighty 100G channels, and so is not directly comparable.

“We expect that Infinera’s 100G system will reach the market at the right time to enable 100G mass adoption,” said Infinera CEO Tom Fallon in a company press release. “In addition, our 100G networks will offer very significant competitive advantages. Advanced features like digital bandwidth management and Bandwidth Virtualization, which customers expect from Infinera, will continue to deliver valuable benefits in our intelligent networks. We believe that traditional muxponder-based DWDM systems become even more inefficient when carrying a wide range of lower-speed services over 100G wavelengths.”

But while the future may belong to 100G, Infinera plans to cover its bases with a 40G coherent offering for its DTN platforms as well. Perkins says that this capability will not leverage the PIC technology. Instead, Infinera has worked with an outside vendor to co-develop a suitable 40G module. DSP algorithms number among Infinera’s contributions to the 40G module development, Perkins reveals.

The 40G line rates will be available for both terrestrial and submarine applications next year. Because it can be paired with the Infinera ILS capabilities, the total system capacity via 40-Gbps line rates could reach 6.4 Tbps, Perkins says.

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