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IQE

23 March 2015

Infinera introduces PICs to support new Layer C and Layer T network model

Infinera Corp of Sunnyvale, CA, USA, a vertically integrated manufacturer of digital optical network systems incorporating its own indium phosphide-based photonic integrated circuits (PICs), has introduced two PICs for new optical transport applications as scale and virtualization drive changes in network architectures. The new PICs include the sliceable enhanced PIC (ePIC-500) and the application-optimized PIC (oPIC-100).

Emergence of Layer C and Layer T

Infinera says that, now that Cloud services are growing quickly and high-capacity connectivity is paramount, service providers must scale, simplify and increase the flexibility of their networks. Network function virtualization (NFV) provides a means to address these needs for the upper layers of the network through the migration of network functions from dedicated appliances to software services on x86 hardware within Cloud data centers. This Cloud services layer supports NFV plus other Cloud-delivered services (Layer C). In order to support Layer C, Cloud data centers and end users need to be interconnected by a highly scalable and flexible transport network (Layer T).

Scalable photonics is the foundation of Layer T and must provide more capacity per line-card and system while simplifying the network - fewer boxes, fibers and modules, and less space, power and fewer manual processes. Infinera says that PICs are integral to the evolution of the transport network, providing significant benefits when integrated into a packet-optical DWDM transport system for an efficient Layer T, ultimately allowing Layer C to thrive.

Sliceable photonics technology for metro

Infinera's new sliceable photonics technology provides a large pool of capacity in a PIC that can be divided at a granular optical level, with each slice capable of being routed in a different direction as it exits the line-card or the system housing it, usually at the hub. The recipient of the individual slice is a line-card or system that matches the capacity, usually at the spoke. The ePIC-500 provides sliceable 500G capacity at the hub location, while the oPIC-100 provides 100G capacity at the spoke location. While these two new PICs are applicable across all network locations, they were developed specifically to support Layer T in the metro.

Infinera modeled a wide range of applications from metro aggregation to regional long-haul where hub-and-spoke, mesh or ring topologies are common. When using the new PICs, these models showed an estimated average reduction of 28% in modules, 31% in power and 45% in bandwidth inefficiencies compared with conventional, commercial off-the-shelf technologies that deliver single-wavelength or super-channel solutions for 100G, 200G or 400G, reckons the firm.

"We find the Infinera sliceable photonics technology to be very relevant for network architectures and have already tested this in our lab," commentsTelefonica's senior manager Juan Pedro Fernández-Palacios. "As Cloud services take off, it is imperative that transport networks be scalable yet granular and simple to operate. Enhancing the super-channel technology with slice-ability is the right approach to satisfy these needs simultaneously," he adds. 

"Infinera continues to leverage its expertise in photonics to provide operators tools to build optimized Transport Layer infrastructure," comments Rick Talbot, principal analyst at market research firm Current Analysis. "We view sliceable photonics provided by the ePIC-500 and oPIC-100 as a significant step in providing flexible wavelength granularity for super-channels, allowing operators to lower the costs and complexities of transport while handling enormous traffic growth," he adds. 

"Infinera has been shipping PICs in transport systems, that have been designed from the ground-up, for over a decade," notes Infinera's co-founder & president Dave Welch. "During this time the technology has surpassed over 1.5 billion hours of field operations," he adds. "Sliceable photonics allows our customers to build networks with scale and flexibility for a wide variety of applications, ranging from the metro to the long-haul. It provides a comprehensive tool-set for us to be nimble and build market-specific platforms for Layer T as our customers' needs continue to evolve."

The new PICs are being developed for line-cards and systems that are scheduled for delivery later this year.

Tags: Infinera PIC InP

Visit: www.infinera.com

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