Infinera Makes Its Metro Move
In fact, the photonic integrated circuits (PIC), of which Infinera is so proud, don't factor into the ATN, which got its official launch today. (See Infinera Adds Metro System.)
"We wanted to provide a solution that was cost-effective for a single wavelength," says Paul Morkel, Infinera's senior director of product marketing. "The PIC technology is very good for multiple wavelengths," but overkill for just one.
PICs also happen to be expensive, and the ATN had to be cheap enough to be deployed as a customer-premises box when necessary. Infinera tapped some merchant components for the ATN, a higher percentage than in the company's previous products, but the system was designed in-house, Morkel says.
Being "metro," the ATN is engineered for reaches of less than 80 km and is built with lower capacity than the DTN, with room to terminate eight 10-Gbit/s Ethernet connections.
Analysts have grilled Infinera for some time about its lack of a metro box to complement the DTN long-haul DWDM system. Last month, Infinera said it had begun shipping such a system and had four customer wins for it. (See Infinera Talks Metro, 40-Gig.)
Still, it feels like there's something... missing...
"It's just not that exciting without the PIC," says Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin. "It's OK for them. It's just not very unique as a product. There's a whole bunch of vendors in WDM access."
Perrin thinks the ATN will appeal mostly to customers already using the DTN.
Infinera "had to do something. The question is whether they had to take R&D to build a new product," Perrin says.
Infinera says the ATN has its advantages, though. For customers already using the DTN, the ATN fits into the same management system, making it easy to adopt. Those carriers could also skip one transponder shelf in the network, because the ATN can place wavelengths directly onto a ring for the DTN to pick up and doesn't need the transponder as an intermediary.
But why use the ATN if you're not already an Infinera customer? Perrin is skeptical that many carriers would, but Morkel suggests that the compact size (three rack units tall for a system sporting eight 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports) and the low power might entice customers.
Infinera plans to add reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) options for the ATN, as ROADM technology gets cheaper.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading