Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) has used ECOC 2019 in Dublin, Ireland, this week to launch its XR optics point-to-multipoint coherent transmission technology. XR optics leverages the company’s Infinite Capacity Engine and photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology to distribute coherent Nyquist subcarriers from a single transmission PIC to multiple destinations. Infinera sees XR optics, which it plans to make available to optical transceiver vendors and perhaps other partners, as a more efficient means to support hub-and-spoke network architectures than the present point-to-point approach.
XR optics combines the Nyquist subcarrier generation capabilities of the Inifinite Capacity Engine with what Infinera calls “coherent subcarrier aggregation” (CSA) to enable individual subcarriers or subcarrier bundles generated a high-speed coherent PIC to be distributed to multiple end points. The end points would not have to use all of the subcarriers assigned to it initially, which opens the possibility of pay-as-you-grow or event-based capacity increases between the hub and its attendant spokes. The technology would be housed in pluggable optical transceivers installed in routers at both ends. Both ends would need to have XR optics enabled interfaces for the scheme to succeed.
Infinera sees the approach as more efficient and less hardware intensive than the current practice of dedicating a router port to each hub-and-spoke connection. Capacity increases would not require swapping out transceivers at each end nor the installation of aggregation devices. Applications that might benefit from the technology include 5G mobile xhaul, cable MSO fiber deep, and cloud-based business services and applications delivery.
Infinera is in the process of finding optical transceiver vendor partners who would be interested in adopting the technology; it would make sense that the company would offer XR optics modules of its own as it rolls out its upcoming optical module line (see “Infinera offers Infinite Network pluggable coherent module strategy details”). Infinera sources said that the timing of product availability is contingent on establishing these partnerships and the partners’ development cycles. While no such partnerships have been announced, a spokesman from Lumentum offered a comment praising the technology in Infinera’s press release, while a representative from Finisar is scheduled to appear on a panel devoted to XR optics this Wednesday at ECOC at 10:30 a.m. in Room Dodder B of the RDS convention facility .
XR optics has caught the attention of at least one potential customer. “Optical aggregation with XR optics is a compelling new architecture for aggregating edge nodes such as 5G radios into high-speed 400G router ports without requiring active aggregation devices in the field. We welcome this multi-vendor effort to fundamentally reduce the complexity and operational cost of aggregation networks,” said Christophe Metivier, vice president of manufacturing and platform engineering, Arista Networks, via the press release.
“Developing 400ZR solutions demands a large investment, and companies are looking for ways to leverage these investments by broadening their addressable market. Infinera has gone a step further in a big, bold move; it is combining its unique expertise in photonics, silicon, and network management to yet again create a truly differentiated approach to solve the engineering challenges faced by network operators,” said Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst, Cignal AI, via the same press release.
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