Since the advent of DWDM in the mid-1990s, most equipment vendors have envisioned an all-optical, highly analog future. According to this vision, amplifiers, filters, and mirrors replace all electronics in networks, and seamlessly transport digital services as waves of light. It's an attractive idea, since the translation between optical and electrical domains--the so-called "O-E-O" conversion--historically accounts for significant network costs. So why not just get rid of it?
It turns out there's a catch. Analog, all-optical networks are at odds with the digital information streams they carry. They are complex to design, and react very slowly to unforeseen changes in service demands – something that is increasingly common in today's cloud architectures.
From the outset, Infinera's vision was to enable DWDM transport networks to be more responsive to the digital services they carry. To do this we had to solve the challenge of reducing the cost of those OEO conversions, and we did this by integrating the optical functions of our switches into a single pair of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). Our unique PIC technology allows us to combine DWDM capacity with the efficiency and ease of use that digital OTN switching can bring. We call the combination of service-ready PIC capacity and distributed OTN switching "Bandwidth Virtualization."
Our first iteration of this vision – the Digital Optical Network – helped to revolutionize the DWDM industry in the "10 Gigabit Era." In recent months, the introduction of the DTN-X platform has taken the 100 Gb/s long haul market by storm, and has allowed us to evolve our vision towards a true Intelligent Transport Network™.
Click on the links below for more detail on the Intelligent Transport Network, and its technology building blocks.