Verizon transports 800 Gbps more than 400 miles with Infinera

July 21, 2020
The successful trials focused on technology for the former XO Communications fiber routes Verizon purchased in 2017. Infinera is the incumbent optical transport systems supplier on most of those routes.

Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ) will announce later this afternoon that it conducted trials of Infinera’s (NASDAQ:INFN) ICE6 800-Gbps coherent transmission capabilities last month. The successful trials focused on technology for the former XO Communications fiber routes Verizon purchased in 2017 (see “Verizon to buy XO Communications fiber-optic network assets”). Infinera is the incumbent optical transport systems supplier on most of those routes.

Kevin Smith, vice president, technology development and planning at Verizon, said the trials covered 800, 600, and 400 Gbps over various reaches. The 800G effort spanned a bit over 400 miles (about 660 km) on a route between Atlanta and Nashville. The 600G test ran from Atlanta to Memphis, a distance of 1400 miles (2200 km). The 400G trial stretched 2500 miles (4000 km) on a route that began in Atlanta and redirected in Nashville and Memphis before arriving in Dallas. In each instance, Verizon and Infinera conducted the trial with single-wavelength test channel traffic over unused fiber, at least 95% of which was Corning LEAF. Smith said that the differences between test channel and commercial traffic are small enough to give the provider confidence in the capabilities of the Infinera technology. The tests used Infinera’s Groove GX Series platforms equipped with the ICE6 coherent chipset.

Smith said the exercises also tested the flex-grid capabilities of the fiber-optic network and transport systems. The traffic traveled on a 112-GHz wavelength grid.

The test with Infinera is the second 800G demonstration Verizon has executed this year. The service provider announced the results of a metro-focused trial with Ciena (NYSE:CIEN) and Juniper Networks (NASDAQ: JNPR) this past March (see “Verizon runs 800 Gbps with Ciena, Juniper Networks”). Smith said the two trials did not signal a “bake-off” between Ciena and Infinera. Ciena is a Verizon incumbent optical transport systems vendor in its metro and ultra-long-haul fiber networks. As mentioned, Infinera holds the same status for most of the former XO links due to its purchase of Coriant, whose heritage includes Nokia Siemens Networks, XO's original 100G optical systems vendor (see "XO Communications chooses Nokia Siemens Networks for nationwide 100G network") as well as direct deployments of Infinera's ILS2 line system, DTN, and DTN-X (see, for example, "XO Communications adds Infinera DTN-X for packet optical transport"). However, XO also used Ciena on some metro and regional links (see "XO Communications adds Ciena to 100-Gbps roster").

“We always are looking at what everybody has,” said Smith. “When you’ve got two pretty well-established incumbents like that it’s a lot to displace. But we’re always talking to everybody out there to see who has what.”

Smith added that more tests of Infinera’s and Ciena’s capabilities likely will be forthcoming. At the time of the Ciena trial, Smith said Verizon expected to field 800G capabilities in the second half of this year.

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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