Coriant has not been as vocal as other vendors about its optical layer software products, but in an exclusive interview with Light Reading, Coriant CTO Uwe Fischer confirmed the company will launch a new photonic-layer software suite this week, and discussed its use in a recent trial of dynamic, flexible-rate transport networking with TeliaSonera International Carrier.
Fischer, having just landed in Nice, France, late Monday for the Next Generation Optical Networking conference there, said in a phone interview with Light Reading that Coriant will formally unveil its CloudWave Optics software suite for photonic layer programmability at the event Tuesday.
He said the new suite was instrumental in a recent field trial with long-standing Coriant customer Telia Carrier , in which the companies used Coriant's hiT Multi-Haul Transport Platform and CloudWave Optics software to support transmission using QPSK, 8 QAM and 16 QAM modulation formats, each over a distance of 1,634 km between Paris, Luxembourg and Frankfurt.
The trial also showcased the ability for flexible-rate line-side transmission at speeds of 100G, 200G, 300G and 400G in multiple test scenarios. The link used standard single-mode fiber and EDFA-only amplification.
Fischer admitted Coriant had not introduced its photonic layer software suite as early as some vendors. (Ed. Note: Though he didn’t mention names, he might have been thinking of Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) and Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), which both announced similar suites last year.) But, he said Coriant was looking to offer points of differentiation, including the ability to support 8 QAM using new analog-to-digital conversion techniques, and the ability the enable maximum flexibility in rate changes from 100G to 400G. (See Infinera Flexes Its Multi-Layer Muscles and OFC: Ciena Smartens Up Photonic Layer.)
"All the dynamic control you get through things like SDN must go hand-in-hand with enabling maximum flexibility at the infrastructure layer," Fischer said. "There is a lot of flexibility in the optical layer already, but what has been missing until now is this kind of 'flexi-rate' modulation, and at rates up to 400G. You can now switch between modulation formats in the blink of an eye."
Fischer said 8 QAM has not been as widely tested and used as 16 QAM in part because 4 QAM and 16 QAM use the same ASIC for analog-digital conversion, while 8 QAM requires a faster processing rate.
"We saw a majority of network paths that need 8 QAM, not 16 QAM," he said. "If you can do 8 QAM, this improves your spectral efficiency. We used a multi-core processor to also achieve lower power consumption. This will be very cost-effective to use in metro networks."
Other vendors have done some work with 8 QAM in the past. In March, Infinera and wholesale operator BICS discussed a trial for subsea purposes that involved multiple modulation formats, including 8 QAM, using large-area, low-loss fiber. (See BICS, Infinera Test OFS Fitel’s LA/LL Fiber.)
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading