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DWDM

Interoute Checks Out Infinera's DTN-X

Interoute Communications Ltd. , one of Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN)'s existing customers, is putting the optical vendor's new 100Gbit/s DTN-X system through its paces and the pan-European operator has high hopes for the platform. (See Infinera Unleashes Coherent 100G.)

"We've been rolling out a lot of DTN [the existing Infinera platform] since 2006, starting slowly at first while the PIC [photonic integrated circuit] was unproven," says Interoute Director of Service Provider Service Development Robin Tero. But once Interoute found that the DTN did actually live up to expectations, Interoute has been deploying more and more in West and East Europe. (See Infinera Runs 2Tbit/s and Infinera Muscles Into Interoute.)

And now, with Interoute's carrier customers demanding more and more capacity, it was only natural that Interoute would test the DTN-X.

"Service providers are outsourcing their transport layers, and they want 60, 70, 80 Gbit/s of capacity at a time, so being able to light 500Gbit/s chunks is useful. Also important is the same flexibility and low opex we already get with the DTN. ... We look at this as the DTN's big brother. The DTN was a game-changer, and we're hoping the DTN-X will be the same," Tero tells Light Reading. (See Telefonica International Uses Interoute and Ethernet Europe: Interoute's 10G Explosion.)

Trials have been ongoing since earlier this year. (See Infinera Demos 500G PICs.)

"We had a trial on the London-to-Amsterdam route in February. Now we're waiting for a more finished version of the hardware to do more field trials and sweat the platform to check if it's operationally robust. We see it as potentially useful to connect our core nodes -- London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid." (See Interoute Completes 100G Subsea Transmission.)

Does it match Interoute's price requirements though? The carrier is known for striking a very hard bargain.

"Box costs are one thing -- you can pretty much bash anyone down on box costs. But operational costs stand out with Infinera. We are trialing other 100Gbit/s systems, and opex is always foremost in our minds," adds Tero, who notes that "we need 100 Gbit/s" and "we're still talking to Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) (its other incumbent transport equipment supplier).

So is Infinera competitive on its box price? We asked the vendor's director of solutions and technology Geoff Bennett if the DTN-X was cheaper than, for instance, an equivalent system from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

"I'd say so," says Bennett.

Really? "Well, we know that sometimes other companies will use competitive pricing strategies. ... We always aim to be cheaper than our rivals per Gbit/s," he concludes.

So there's competition to get into Interoute's network, and Bennett and team can expect Tero and his CTO Matt "If the price is right" Finnie to ask some serious questions on hardware pricing. But it looks likely that Interoute will stick with its current supplier if the DTN-X can live up to its little brother's opex and flexibility capabilities.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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