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Infinera Future-Proofs Deployments

June 13, 2017

The demand for higher bandwidth is nothing new, as in the data center for some time the name of the game is smaller, faster and automated. While five years ago it was Tier 1 service providers seeking increased bandwidth for residential broadband, today it is the Googles, Facebooks and Microsofts of the world – the “cloud folks.”

In a recent conversation with Infinera’s Geoff Bennett, he illustrated the next generation of communications applications – IoT, enterprise apps, social video sharing and VR – will drive network demand, but the reality is m2m traffic is steering the ship. Metro backhaul has long been the “onramp to the Internet, “and its architecture is evolving. Customers are talking, and Infinera is listening.

No longer is backhaul the preferred method. First we saw a move to the edge, with FOG serving as the next evolution. Picture pre-fab huts dispersed along the network edge, to support the expansion of fiber and provide low latency, but there can be some hiccups. Bennett noted, “Resources are finite in the hut;” issues like space, cost and power management come immediately to mind. It is these primary problems that led Infinera to view the network through a futuristic lens, focusing on the next generation of metro networking equipment, and today results in the XTM II Metro WDM platform.

Possibly more impressive than the platform are the traffic units released today as well. Featuring the 400G Flexponder, which provides 400G and

Image via Pixabay

client capacity per slot, it offers an 8 times increase in density from the previous generation, can run as low as 20 watts for 100G service – which Bennett believes is the lowest industry-wide. The dual, 200G solution uses 16QAM for high-capacity transport, or for longer reach, a dual 100G transponder that leverages QPSK.

Also unveiled was the 200G Muxponder; the 200G Layer 1 muxponder supports 10G/40G/100G Ethernet and 8/16/32G Fibre Channel, in addition to OTN, and can be paired to create an OTN add-drop multiplexer.

Finally, the EMPXP440 Packet-Optical Transport Switch provides Layer 2 packet optical switching with dual ports and 12 or 24 10G ports. It supports Carrier Ethernet and MPLS-TP, packet transport with sub-50 milliseconds protection, Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) CEF 2.0 service creation and quality of service-aware traffic aggregation.

All units were developed with SDN in mind, as Bennett explained the new units “were designed to manage the entire SDN XCEED product range.”

A key piece of Infinera’s release is compatibility. The “original XTM is a very mature product line,” with some in the field that are more than 10 years old. The newly unveiled units are “forward and backward compatible,” and are fully capable of functioning at a high level with the legacy XTM platform; with the XTM II, the cards can fully populate the unit. As a matter of investment protection, the XTM chassis family is compatible with all generations.

The new generation of traffic units ties into another exciting component of the release, a new line system. The line system, or what Bennett refers to as the “unsung hero” and foundation of the deployment. Fixed grid is an antiquated way of delivery; in practice since the 1990s, that same 50gh fixed grid slot simply isn’t capable of keeping up with scale and on-demand requirements. The flex grid system is something Infinera has been outfitting long haul with for some time, and finally metro seems like its ready to move away from fixed grid. Throw in backward and forward compatibility, and you get a future-forward metro deployment that is future proof.

Only time will tell what the network will be 10, 15 or even 20 years from now, but by keeping a finger on the pulse and an eye to the future, innovative firms like Infinera can stay ahead of the pack.

Edited by Alicia Young

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