Infinera adds superchannel switching, multi-layer automation

Optical transport systems vendor Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) has built on its work with superchannels to offer the ability for carriers who have deployed the DTN-X packet-optical transport system to switch superchannels at the optical layer as well as control such switching as part of a multi-layer automation capability. The new features will see first customer deliveries this September, say Infinera sources.

Optical transport systems vendor Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) has built on its work with superchannels to offer the ability for carriers who have deployed the DTN-X packet-optical transport system to switch superchannels at the optical layer as well as control such switching as part of a multi-layer automation capability. The new features will see first customer deliveries this September, say Infinera sources.

The enhancements come in the form of new hardware and software. On the hardware end, Infinera has introduced a flexible-grid reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer that it calls FlexROADM, which operates at both the superchannel and wavelength levels. The FlexROADM is part of a new Flexible Grid Line System and is paired with a new DTN-X flexible grid friendly line card that accommodates a single 500-Gbps superchannel based on Infinera’s 500G photonic integrated circuits (PICs), Infinera’s Senior Director of Marketing Mark Showalter and Vice President of Marketing Michael Capuano told Lightwave yesterday. Different iterations of the FlexROADM card support full colorless, directionless, and contentionless features or simply colorless or colorless and directionless capabilities.

To control the new superchannel-friendly ROADM capabilities, Infinera also has added software enhancements to the DTN-X’s control plane. The new FlexROADM control capabilities are based on the Internet Engineering Task Force’s work in spectrum switched optical networks (SSON), a emerging set of standards now in draft form. The control plane upgrade enables multi-layer automation of the DTN-X’s converged OTN switching and new superchannel switching.

Combined with what is being touted as the third generation of the company’s superchannel technology, the new hardware and software will position Infinera as the only company to offer working flexible-grid ROADM technology for superchannel transport and switching, Showalter and Capuano say. While other companies have capable hardware, they don’t yet offer the necessary software, the Infinera spokesmen assert.

At least one analyst gave Infinera a thumbs up on the announcement. "Infinera continues to drive innovation in the optical communications industry," said Ron Kline, principal analyst at Ovum, via an Infinera press release. "Adding superchannel FlexROADM capabilities to its unique photonic integrated circuit based architecture deepens the company's differentiation. A unified control plane with multi-layer automation provides needed flexibility at a time when communications service providers really need it."

For more information on high-speed transport systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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