Ciena introduces single-carrier 1.6-Tbps WaveLogic 6 coherent optical engines

Feb. 21, 2023
The WaveLogic 6 Extreme (WL6e) will accommodate high-performance line card requirements (including the 1.6-Tbps transmission rate), while the WaveLogic 6 Nano (WL6n) will enable 400- to 800-Gbps pluggable modules.

Continuing the industry's string of next-generation coherent transmission technology announcements ahead of OFC 2023, Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has unveiled its WaveLogic 6 coherent optical engines for transmission at rates of up to 1.6 Tbps via a single carrier. As was the case with previous generations (certainly, the WaveLogic 5), Ciena will produce two versions of the engine. The WaveLogic 6 Extreme (WL6e) will accommodate high-performance line card requirements (including the 1.6-Tbps transmission rate), while the WaveLogic 6 Nano (WL6n) will enable 400- to 800-Gbps pluggable modules.

The WaveLogic devices are based on 3-nm technology. The 200-Gbaud WL6e will enable 1.6-Tbps transmission at metro reaches and 800G "across the longest links," in the words of a Ciena press release. In a subsequent discussion, Helen Xenos, senior director, portfolio marketing at Ciena, said the WL6e will support unregenerated 800G across 4000 to 5000 km on terrestrial networks. The company also has modeled 1-Tbps transmission to approximately 12,000 km without regeneration on amplified submarine network infrastructure. The engine will offer a 15% improvement in spectral efficiency and a 50% reduction in space and power per bit compared to WaveLogic 5.

The WL6n, meanwhile, will enable development of pluggable optical modules that will support 400G long-haul and 800G in metro/regional applications up to approximately 1000 km, according to Xenos. The device will come in multiple variants to support operation from 118 Gbaud to 140 Gbaud, the latter for high-performance 800G applications. In combination, the WL6n will be compliant with Open ROADM MSA specifications for 400G long haul, according to Xenos, as well as OIF’s upcoming 800ZR specifications. WL6n also can be used to create what Ciena called “a fit-for-purpose 800LR design, bringing coherent technology inside the data center campus for the first time.”

The WL6e will become available in the first half of 2024, with the WL6n family following in the second half of the year. The company will use WaveLogic 6 “across a range of Ciena’s optical and routing and switching platforms.” Ciena adds that it plans to make the WL6 technology available on a merchant basis as well.

Asked when Ciena might offer pluggable transceivers with the WL6n, Xenos again referenced the 2H24 availability date. Field trials for WL6 technology likely will begin in the first half of 2024, she added.

“Ciena ups the ante in the delivery of high-performance coherent solutions, using advanced technology and high bandwidth electro-optics, with WaveLogic 6, which is expected to be the first 1.6-Tbps wavelength transmitted over a single carrier,” commented Jimmy Yu, a vice president at market research firm Dell’Oro Group, via the Ciena press release. “We believe 1.6-Tbps wavelengths will be a critical technology to enable operators to sustainably grow their networks as bandwidth demand continues to grow annually at 30%. Hence, we anticipate that in five years over 50% of capacity additions will come from DWDM systems built with sixth-generation coherent DSPs."

The introduction of the WaveLogic 6 follows Acacia's announcement that it is shipping 1.2-Tbps modules and Nokia's reveal of its 1.2-Tbps PSE-6s (see "Acacia shipping 1.2-Tbps CIM 8 optical module" and "Nokia unveils PSE-6s super-coherent optical engine for 1.2-Tbps to 2.4-Tbps applications").

[Editor's Note: This story has been updated twice from the original with information provided after it was first published.]

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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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