Infinera Gets Closer to 100G

Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) has its 500Gbit/s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) running in a field trial that started Friday.

The company is announcing Monday that Seacom Ltd. has tested Infinera's 100Gbit/s coherent transmission on a 1,732km loop between Johannesburg and a cable landing station (the point where an undersea cable comes up on land).

It's a test of just one 100Gbit/s link, not of the PIC's full five-channel, 500Gbit/s capacity. "The key thing is that we're transmitting 100Gbit/s coherent. That's what the customer asked us to do," says Mike Capuano, Infinera's vice president of marketing. [Update: After Infinera spoke with Light Reading, the company got word that Seacom did test all five lanes.]

With Seacom, the company has moved up to testing a module that uses a preliminary version of the PIC. (The company had demonstrated the PIC itself in March.)

Why this matters
Infinera's future is staked on this 500Gbit/s PIC, so every sign of progress counts. The company has been diligently updating investors on its progress and so far has stuck to its timetable, with volume production expected before July 2012. That could be just the right timing for Infinera to become a huge player in the 100Gbit/s optical generation.

Separately, it's noteworthy that Seacom, a privately held company that's laying fiber around Africa, is preparing for 100Gbit/s optical links.

"Seacom is having an event where they're inviting African media, government, customers -- it's a pretty big deal for Africa to be deploying infrastructure this cutting-edge," Capuano says.

For more
Keep up with Infinera's 100Gbit/s progress:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:57:37 PM
re: Infinera Gets Closer to 100G

Infinera did in fact test all 500G running at once.  That happened after press time, actually, so it's in the press release but not in this story.  They're telling me it's the first time they've tested all 5 lanes at once.

They were also able to test FlexCoherent (software-changeable modulation) by flipping between PM-QPSK and PM-BPSK modulation -- see http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=203216

They've also updated the distance traveled since I first talked with them - it's 1,732 km rather than 1,860.

opticaljunkie 12/5/2012 | 4:57:35 PM
re: Infinera Gets Closer to 100G

I think the key takeaway in this press release is that Infinera's coherent ASIC is working without issues. Now it's just a matter of time for the rest: PCB, other hardware, FPGA, client interface, firmware, software, mechanical, margin budget, chassis integration, and of course production ramp etc. 

When this line card is ready, the BPSK mode will bring out world's second coherent BPSK solution for subsea applications, first one is from Ciena/Nortel MEN. 

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:57:35 PM
re: Infinera Gets Closer to 100G

Good comments, but .... who said anything about hype? You might take this story as hype, but I wrote it as a reminder that Infinera is in a delicate position.

I want us to follow Infinera closely because its future is quite likely riding on this 500G PIC. If they botch this cycle, they might not recover -- you mention it would be a major disappointment, and I actually think you've understated it. 

So, every time they can provide evidence they're on target, I think that's a data point worth recording.

Now, the PIC, in general, is indeed super-hyped by Infinera -- that, I agree with, and it's been going on for years. Regarding how long systems have run error-free... I think they do have a statement on that but I'd have to check.

> If they live up to their expectations they are basically stating they will put alcatel and ciena out of business immediately

Nah. I mean, you're correct that that's what Infinera is saying, but it didn't happen that way for 10G and I doubt it would in 100G.

laytonhasnochance 12/5/2012 | 4:57:35 PM
re: Infinera Gets Closer to 100G

So are we going to be hearing about infinera adfiniteum until next july?  If you listened to all the hype, including this site, they are the cats meow. Claims made here and I assume on their site that they are running Five 100G channels simultaneously resulting in 500G would be a world first would it not. They also claim their 100g solution is light years ahead of everything based on PIC, even though they make no claims how long systems have been running error free and what they are driving? Do alcatel, ciena or the asian companies have anything close to this? If all the hype is to believed it would be nothing short of a major disappointment, and therefore a major revenue adjustment if Infinera fails to live up to the promises. At this point it looks like they are claiming their solution is head and shoulders above any other solution, with much better QOS, cheaper, and therefore a much better investment. That is bold talk for a product still in the test stage if that, and not even ready for a year from now. Somebodys not being honest or infinera are the best thing since sliced bread? If they live up to their expectations they are basically stating they will put alcatel and ciena out of business immediately. Is this for real? Who knows the real story?


Charles_C 12/5/2012 | 4:57:34 PM
re: Infinera Gets Closer to 100G is when will service providers start deploying 100G in volume? Systems have been available for a while now but it looks like SPs are only relieving pain points in the networks right now.
^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:57:30 PM
re: Infinera Gets Closer to 100G

Carriers are already in the ramp mode for volume deployments.  Note: carriers rarely release this information nor do press releases.  In fact, most contracts with suppliers prohibit press releases.

So, you see press for trials.  But not for volume deployments or volume deployment plans.

I believe there is more deployments in the 100G pipe than is commonly known.

Look to ALU's statements in their recent conference call regards their view that North America represents growth for them.  Read between those lines.


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