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Infinera's Old 40G

Craig Matsumoto

6:00 PM -- I took a minute this week to reconcile the new Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) 100-Gbit/s stance with its original 40-Gbit/s plans, announced in 2008.

That was when Infinera announced its 400-Gbit/s photonic integrated circuit (PIC), sporting 10 channels of 40 Gbit/s apiece. The chip was going to be "produced" in 2009, as Infinera's press release put it. (See Infinera Unveils PIC Road Map.)

Cards using that chip never came to market, and Infinera has decided they never will. As announced Thursday, the company is putting its effort into 100 Gbit/s, using off-the-shelf components for any 40-Gbit/s cards it sells. (See Infinera Ditches 40G, Talks 100G.)

For what it's worth, Infinera claims the 400-Gbit/s PICs arrived on time. "We said that they would be handed over to our systems team to develop the system based on those PICs by end 2009, and that did happen," a spokesman tells Light Reading in an email.

It might not be important -- as has been pointed out, Infinera's 100-Gbit/s strategy is the right way to go, given today's circumstances -- but it sure sounds like the 400-Gbit/s PIC could have been out by now. I can only guess that something in the systems integration step went awry (or, maybe, that step takes longer than I'm imagining). Whether Infinera is covering up for a missed opportunity, or taking advantage of a sudden market shift toward 100 Gbit/s, we might never know.

It's not all R&D down the drain, anyway; some technology from the 400-Gbit/s PICs will get used in future 500-Gbit/s PICs (five channels of 100 Gbit/s each).

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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12/5/2012 | 4:34:52 PM
re: Infinera's Old 40G

From the Feb 2008 article: http://www.lightreading.com/do...


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."


Turns out:  It all depends on follow-thru.  Or lack thereof.


12/5/2012 | 4:34:28 PM
re: Infinera's Old 40G

I can only guess that something in the systems integration step went awry (or, maybe, that step takes longer than I'm imagining)


I couldn't agree more with you. Something must have gone really awry otherwise one cannot understand why Infinera would prefer to develop a 40G blade with off the shelf components instead of using their own fancy chip which was supposed to deliver differentiation, system design simplicity (one of the benefits of higher component integration), and hence aggressive time to market. This is even more striking if you compare the cost of developing a new chip compared to the cost of developing a new line card. 

Anyway, that is history. All our eyes are now on 100G!

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