Infinera moves terabit optical networks closer to commercialization with Infinite Capacity Engine

Infinera has revealed further details of what it plans to do with the terabit-scale Advanced Coherent Toolkit (ACT) it unveiled this past January. The company has unveiled the Infinite Capacity Engine, an optical subsystem for its optical transport portfolio that combines the ACT with other technologies to enable 2.4-Tbps superchannels that can reach 12,000 km as well as other features.

According to Pravin Mahajan, director of product and corporate marketing at Infinera, a new generation of the company’s FlexCoherent processor and the fourth generation of Infinera’s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) provide the heart of the Infinite Capacity Engine. Actually, that’s “Engines” – there will be multiple Infinite Capacity Engines optimized for such applications as long-haul terrestrial, undersea, metro, and data center interconnect, he said (and likely for different platforms, including the TM-Series gained via the Transmode acquisition).

The new FlexCoherent Processor enables the terabit optical transmission capability via the ACT features the company described in January, including support of Nyquist subcarriers and a variety of modulation formats. Enhanced forward error correction (FEC) and gain sharing enable a net coding gain of 11.9 dB, Mahajan said.

The Infinite Capacity Engine also will support a concept Infinera has employed in its metro optical transport systems, sliceable bandwidth (see “Infinera embraces Transmode, new products in metro portfolio” and “Transforming metro-network economics“). The technology enables the capacity of a superchannel to be “sliced”; each capacity slice can be delivered to a different location. As is the case with the metro version of the capability, the upcoming Infinite Capacity Engine will support slices of 100-Gbps granularity.

The subsystem will support in-flight wire-speed encryption as well. The DSP performs the encryption, so additional silicon isn’t necessary, Mahajan said.

Overall, the Infinite Capacity Engine will offer 82% lower power per gigabit than competitive offerings, Majahan predicted. It represents a 70% reduction in W/Gbps from Infinera’s current 500G PIC as well.

The company is not yet ready to discuss publicly exactly when the Infinite Capacity Engine will debut on commercial hardware. Mahajan said the company will make that announcement later this year.