Infinera Unveils PIC Road Map

With the demonstration of a new product that will quadruple the capacity of its network equipment, Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) has set out to prove that it's not a one-trick pony.

The company is demonstrating a 400-Gbit/s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) at OFC/NOEFC and has announced a product road map that will see capacity in its equipment double approximately every three years.

The company currently sells a tightly integrated optical system that delivers 100 Gbit/s over ten 10-Gbit/s waves. But Infinera says that it will be quadrupling the capacity that can be handled on a single line card within its DTN WDM systems next year.

The 400-Gbit/s PIC will combine more than 100 discrete components onto two indium phosphide chips and will use the differential quaternary phase-shift keying (DQPSK) modulation format. (The current 100-Gbit/s PIC combines approximately 60 components onto two chips.)

Perhaps most importantly, the announcement solves the question of whether or not the company can scale its product to meet higher-capacity network demands.

Infinera currently offers a very cost-effective way to provision 10-Gbit/s waves, but with the market for serial 40-Gbit/s products ramping up, the company was beginning to fall behind.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. , and Nortel Networks Ltd. had all previously announced products with the ability to send 40-Gbit/s wavelengths over a single fiber, and some have already announced customers for those products. (See Nortel Takes 40-Gig to Verizon, Ciena Flexes Its 40-Gig Story, and Yokogawa, Fujitsu Team on 40G.)

While Infinera did announce the ability to support 40-Gbit/s signals with its 40G Tributary Adaptor Module (TAM) last year, that product burns four wavelengths in the effort. (See Infinera Falls in Line With 40G.)

Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin says the announcement was a positive one for Infinera. He says the product could put pressure on other vendors, particularly if Infinera is as cost-competitive when it rolls out its 400-Gbit/s PIC as it was with its 100-Gbit/s PIC.

"It all depends on cost," Perrin says. "If the cost is right, the fundamental thing that Infinera is doing with the integrated circuit could have a huge impact on 40 Gig."

In addition to the 400-Gbit/s PIC, Infinera announced a road map for future high-capacity PIC products. The company expects to double capacity approximately every three years, which would mean the company will have a 1-Tbit/s PIC in 2012, and a 4-Tbit/s PIC in 2018.

Following Infinera's current standard of 10 wavelengths per PIC, the 1 Tbit/s would have 10 100-Gbit/s wavelengths. If so, that could place Infinera somewhat behind in the market for 100-Gbit/s optical products, as most industry observers believe commercial 100-Gbit/s optical products could hit the street as early as 2010. (See The Road to 100G Winds Up Carriers.)

However, an Infinera spokesperson pointed out that the company has not defined how it plans to break out the capacity per wavelength of its 1 Tbit/s PIC. Moreover, he argues that capacity per wavelength is the wrong metric by which one should judge network efficiency. "The capacity per chip is what really counts," he says.

Perrin believes other optical vendors may struggle to develop future higher-capacity products unless they follow Infinera's lead and do some photonic integration of their own.

"It's difficult to see how the industry can continue to scale up" to 100 Gbit/s without a PIC, Perrin says. "Infinera is showing the importance and value of a photonic integrated system... which could pressure other chip companies to make changes in the way they do things."

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

litereading 12/5/2012 | 3:47:02 PM
re: Infinera Unveils PIC Road Map comes with a warning to wear SPF45 when working within 3 feet of a TAM...
hyperunner 12/5/2012 | 3:46:58 PM
re: Infinera Unveils PIC Road Map Hi litereading,

Gosh is that the best you can do? You think the TAM board might get a bit warm? I have to say when you bash Infinera I prefer it if you give some kind of evidence or even an argued opinion, such as...

...when you bashed the original S-1 announcement.

...when you bashed the first earnings

I prefer these more reasoned bashes to your more random G«£gee they suckG«• comments like your most recent masterpiece G«£this board might get hotG«• comment, and these...


Infinera sucks

InfineraG«÷s cashflow
. BTW G«Ű I think youG«÷ll find it doesnG«÷t.

Infinera being private and able to conceal their balance sheet sucks. So now you can see the balance sheet, do you agree theyG«÷re unique? Just wondering.

Infinera sucks

I wanted to take a guess at who you work for, and since you are ALWAYS negative about almost every company and almost every technology it was tricky at first. For instance you seem to dislike a lot of things...

Ciena sucks...

Tellabs sucks...

China sucks...

Alcalu sucks (have to agree with you there)...

Phil Tilley questioning PBT economics sucks

100 GE sucks

...and apparently Kevin Kalkhoven REALLY

But there are just a few exceptions:

Apparently PBT doesnG«÷t suckG«™

...and it does suck when an analyst reports NortelG«÷s exclusion from the GIG-BE deal...

...and NortelG«÷s OME 6500 apparently doesnG«÷t suck...

...now obviously nobody in their right mind would voluntarily like that platform so you are either:

A: Deranged

B: Work
for Nortel

...or maybe both (along the lines of G«£you donG«÷t have to be deranged to work for Nortel, but it helpsG«•).


hyperunner 12/5/2012 | 3:46:57 PM
re: Infinera Unveils PIC Road Map Dudes,
Apologies for the formatting on my previous message.

It appears that the Light Reading board:

A: Doesn't recognise link formatting codes

B: Doesn't offer a preview of the message to see if you got it right

C: doesn't allow me to edit a message to fix it afterwards.

Dagnabit! Darned if I'm going to fool around with it any more.

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