Infinera 100G Checkup

5:30 PM -- Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) says it's making headway with its new 100-Gbit/s plan. Today, the company has announced a trial with XO Communications Inc. , using the coherent 500-Gbit/s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) -- five 100-Gbit/s channels -- that Infinera has discussed before. (See XO Tests Infinera's 100G.)

Infinera is sticking to its timeline of producing 500-Gbit/s coherent photonic integrated circuits (PICs) in 2012. In the interim, a non-PIC, 40-Gbit/s card will come out in 2011. (See Infinera Ditches 40G, Talks 100G.)

What Infinera is not talking about is the nature of the 500-Gbit/s PIC -- whether the five channels comprise two optical carriers apiece. The channels do fit within 50GHz spacing, says Dave Welch, Infinera's chief strategy officer. But what we've heard is that the PIC will initially use two 50-Gbit/s carriers -- two wavelengths inside a 50GHz slot -- to produce 100 Gbit/s, just as Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) is doing with the old Nortel Networks Ltd. gear. (See Infinera Puts 100G Coherent on Pause and Verizon Switches On 100G in Europe.)

On a not-so-related note: You've seen the picture of Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin in the bunny suit, right? Not the long-eared kind (we'd need to feed him more beers first) but the semiconductor fab kind. His writeup takes you on a tour of what goes on inside a fab. Check it out: A Peek Into Infinera's PICs.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

IJD 12/5/2012 | 4:24:47 PM
re: Infinera 100G Checkup

Given that the 500G PIC will need 10 50Gb transceivers (or 5 100Gb ones) to drive it, how does this work in a system from the point of view of circuit and power density and heat dissipation?

Since all the transceivers have to be pretty close to the PIC (an interesting design problem in itself if they're all on the same PCB -- or even if they're not) this means getting at least a couple of hundred watts out of a small physical area, which is very difficult with air cooling unless a massive volume heatsink with fan (unlikely) or liquid cooling (even less likely) is used.

It's the equivalent of trying to pack 5 OIF 100G transceivers (which are difficult enough to cool anyway with 80W maximum power budget each in a 5" x 7" x 1.3" volume including heatsink, given typical cooling air flow and temperature) into a very small space and PCB area.

Maybe Infinera have a good solution to this, but I can't see what it might be...

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