Infinera Puts 100G Coherent on Pause
Other vendors are already demonstrating coherent receivers and announcing coherent 40-Gbit/s products. (See CoreOptics Does Coherent 40G, Fujitsu Intros 40G Coherent Optics, and NeoPhotonics Intros 40G/100G PIC.)
Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. , which is using a CoreOptics Inc. 40-Gbit/s coherent module, expects to come out with 100-Gbit/s offerings in 2011, and other vendors at last month's OFC/NFOEC said they expect to match that timeframe. Would Infinera be handicapped by lagging the coherent market? The source who shared Infinera's supposed timetable with Light Reading said no: "They were six years late to 10 Gbit/s, but it didn't matter." The dual 50-Gbit/s option is certainly viable, considering Verizon is using it. Glenn Wellbrock, the carrier's director of backbone network design, defended the technology during his talk at the The Optical Society (OSA) Executive Forum that preceded OFC/NFOEC, saying it works because the two wavelengths fit within one ITU slot. "Spectral efficiency, going into one ITU 50GHz grid, is what mattered to us," he said. Heavy Reading's Perrin thinks Infinera intends to use a multi-wavelength technique for 40 Gbit/s as well.
The problem he sees is that competitors such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , and Opnext Inc. (Nasdaq: OPXT) are already testing out single-wavelength 100-Gbit/s transport, "so the momentum is definitely in that direction," he writes in an email to Light Reading. "It is clear that 100G momentum is around coherent so any vendor will need this ability for long-haul applications. I don’t see a way around that requirement for long-haul DWDM," Perrin continues. Infinera isn't confirming or commenting on its future plans. But Rick Dodd, the company's vice president of marketing, makes it clear that coherent receivers are in Infinera's future. "We absolutely believe in coherent, this is in fact why we opened our design center in Ottawa and hired some of the best guys in the world there," Dodd writes in an email to Light Reading. Infinera considers coherent technology to be necessary only when carriers go beyond having 3.2 Tbit/s of traffic on one fiber, Dodd notes. That would equate to speeds exceeding 40 Gbit/s on an 80-wavelength grid.
Because Infinera's technology is based around the massive integration of components into PICs, Dodd says the company is looking forward to the era of coherent technology, which uses lots of components. — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading