The technology is called FlexCoherent, and it's getting announced today at the Pacific Telecommunications Council gathering in Honolulu, where Infinera CTO Dave Welch will be speaking on a panel with the promising title, "Subsea Cable Smackdown." We're picturing giant squids duking it out.
The first two modulation formats supported are: polarization multiplexed, quadrature phase-shift keying (PM-QPSK, which is being used in the OIF framework for 100Gbit/s long-haul transmission); and PM-BPSK (polarization multiplexed, binary phase-shift keying). FlexCoherent could also support other formats, such as high levels of quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), as they get adopted, Welch says.
Why this matters
With different modulation schemes available, carriers can make tradeoffs, especially in cases where they need a format that can overcome fiber impairments or survive undersea distances. Software configurability lets Infinera cover many modulation cases with just a handful of line cards; likewise, carriers can buy a smaller variety of cards and apply them to many cases. Given the likely expense of 100Gbit/s systems, this could be an interesting feature.
Welch, talking to Light Reading by phone from Hawaii (it was hard to tell if he was on the beach or not), speculates that everyone will offer software-configurable modulation eventually. But Infinera is claiming to be the first to announce it.
Infinera's press release notes that FlexCoherent will be available for 40Gbit/s coherent transmission -- cards that won't be based on Infinera's photonic integrated circuits (PICs) -- as well as for 100 Gbit/s.
Not all of the modulation schemes mentioned in these stories are Infinera-supported, but the list will give you an idea of how many modulation options are out there.
- Ericsson Puts Its Own Spin on 100G
- The Terabit Ethernet Chase Begins
- ZTE Fills Out Its 100G
- Oclaro Adds Mintera to the Fold
- Infinera Ditches 40G, Talks 100G
- 100G Hits the Ground Running
- ADVA Opens Another 100-Gig Front
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading