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Infinera Unleashes Coherent 100G

Infinera is launching its DTN-X system Thursday, fortifying its position on multiple battle fronts including coherent 100Gbit/s transmission, packet-optical transport and Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching.

Key features include:

  • The 500Gbit/s photonic integrated circuit (PIC): The DTN-X is essentially the vehicle for this PIC, which produces one superchannel that contains five 100Gbit/s streams. Each 100Gbit/s stream further consists of four 25Gbit/s data feeds imprinted on one wavelength. This Infinera video from OFC/NFOEC explains.

  • OTN switching: Is now integrated into the switch fabric. Infinera's original DTN systems don't have that integration, giving them "limited" OTN capabilities, says Eve Griliches, an analyst with ACG Research .
  • MPLS: As mentioned in March, Infinera plans to add MPLS to the DTN-X, making it a contender as a core packet-optical transport system. Infinera isn't saying when this will happen, though.
  • Multichassis capability: Ten DTN-Xs (each of which fills a standard rack) can be linked up to behave as one virtual switch.

Separately, Infinera says cards with 40Gbit/s coherent detection are available for the original DTN system now. The company also says 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces are now available for that system.

Why this matters
When Infinera scrapped its 40Gbit/s plans about 16 months ago, it bet its future on being able to deliver coherent 100Gbit/s support by 2012, in time to meet the mainstream market. Thursday's announcement is the clearest sign yet that the company will make that goal.

By getting to 100Gbit/s and showing competitive costs for the amount of bandwidth the DTN-X handles, Infinera might be able to finally attract more Tier 1 customers, probably as a second source to their established suppliers, Griliches says. In fact, Verizon Business contributed a quote to Infinera's Thursday press release, a sign that Infinera might join Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) there as a 100Gbit/s transport supplier.

For more
Key Infinera items from the past year or so:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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