Infinera aims at disruption with new point-to-multipoint optical solution

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Sep 23, 2019

© Flickr/cc-licence/Bob Mical

© Flickr/cc-licence/Bob Mical

  • Old point-to-point has had its day says Infinera
  • As networks grow they tend to populate the network with transceivers which gobble power, reduce flexibility and increase OpEx
  • Crunch time is looming as 5G and other trends threaten soaring data traffic

Infinera says it’s aiming to disrupt the traditional point-to-point optical transmission model with a new point-to-multipoint technology which, it claims, is optimised for the increasingly prevalent hub-and-spoke traffic pattern on aggregation networks. 

The company has today introduced ‘XR optics’ which it says is the industry’s first point-to-multipoint coherent optical subcarrier aggregation technology which, it claims, will enable operators to design more efficient, flexible, and cost-effective transport networks optimized for the applications driving network growth.

The company says connections in optical transport networks have historically been implemented using point-to-point technology, which requires matching transceivers of identical speed on each end of the fiber link. 

“These point-to-point solutions are extremely inefficient at handling hub-and-spoke traffic flows, which dominate traffic patterns in aggregation networks,” it explains. “The result is increased CapEx and OpEx stemming from an extremely large number of transceivers, increased space and power requirements, and “rip and replace” truck rolls as traffic requirements grow. In addition, as networks scale, additional digital aggregation devices are required at intermediate locations to support the conversion to higher speeds. Operational costs and complexity are compounded as operators brace for the significant increase in traffic demand coming from 5G, fiber deep, and new cloud-based business services and applications.”

Coherent subcarrier aggregation (CSA)

XR optics overcomes these inherent problems through its deployment of  independently routable Nyquist subcarriers and coherent optical aggregation capabilities. Coherent subcarrier aggregation (CSA) capabilities means that a  single high-speed transceiver can simultaneously send and receive independent data streams to and from numerous low-speed transceivers. 

It’s claimed that this means network operators will be positioned to significantly reduce the number of transceivers in the network, eliminate the need for costly intermediate aggregation devices, and more efficiently optimize transport infrastructure for hub-and-spoke end-user traffic flows. 

Infinera claims XR optics is designed to be integrated into a variety of form factors, including industry-standard pluggables, from low-speed interfaces with a single subcarrier to high-speed (400G+) interfaces with numerous subcarriers.

"Optical aggregation with XR optics is a compelling new architecture for aggregating edge nodes such as 5G radios into high-speed 400G router ports without requiring active aggregation devices in the field. We welcome this multi-vendor effort to fundamentally reduce the complexity and operational cost of aggregation networks," said Christophe Metivier, VP of Manufacturing and Platform Engineering, Arista Networks.

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