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Open, Pluggable, and Green

June 29, 2022
By Christian Uremovic
Director of Solutions Marketing

Recurring Themes from NGON & DCI World 2022 in Barcelona

This year’s Next Generation Optical Networking (NGON) event was the first face-to-face NGON since the pandemic started, and it was also the first time the event was hosted in Barcelona. To me, it was very satisfying to have face-to-face networking again, and it showed that in-person events are appreciated and have real value. Key themes from this year’s event included 400G coherent pluggable optics, data center connectivity, sustainability and green networking, open line systems, operating at the edge, and automation and machine learning.

Infinera’s talks included “Evolution of Optical Networking Infrastructure in Metro Aggregation Networks,” where Jon Baldry excited the audience with our new pluggable innovations, and a panel discussion on “Overcoming the Obstacles to Automating Optical Network Operations,” where our CTO Harald Bock was joined by representatives from Ciena and Telefónica.

Infinera booth and products at NGON and DCI World 2022

One key thing that came up in the panel discussion was that while network operators are working hard to adopt modern operational models, they also are struggling with that change. Significant projects are ongoing to train and “upskill” their employees, but the change is not just about skillset, it is about organizational structures that need to support the new mode of operations. For future topics such as introducing AI/ML-driven autonomous network decisions, the key hurdle to overcome seems to be the buildup of trust in the new technologies and in the decisions the network takes automatically.

The event was well attended by nearly all major European operators, and I personally enjoyed the conversations with our customers and prospects especially, as we were able to have constructive discussions along with demonstrations of our latest innovations that are helping operators to stay ahead of increasing capacity demands and to open their networks to what’s possible.

When I met with operators from across Europe, they all were interested to hear what’s new, and wanted to learn about Infinera’s latest innovations and how they could be applied in their networks – be they open line systems, point-to-multipoint coherent optics, open networking initiatives, or the latest 800G technology advances. Recurring themes that ran across most of the conversations included: 1) operationalizing pluggable optics in third-party equipment, 2) operationalizing and accelerating open wavelength deployments, and 3) innovations that help reduce carbon footprint.

Now I want to recap and share with you here some of our technology innovations and demonstrations that tied in nicely to the hot topics of the event and recurring customer themes:

  • Infinera ICE6, the market-leading 800G technology, which offers unique aspects such as:
    • High-spectral-efficiency mode and 800G at 84 Gbaud
    • High-performance mode and 800G at 100 Gbaud with probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS)
    • Dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA), the ability to shuffle payload within the Nyquist subcarriers of a single wavelength, which improves the performance of high-speed wavelengths when deployed in, for example, ROADM networks
    • ICE6 deployments of third-party line systems and open networking
    • Carbon footprint reductions along with the implementation of high-performance, high-speed optics and lowest cost/bit/km value
  • Infinera Open Wave Manager, a software application that improves the deployment and operation of transponders over third-party line systems, with functionalities such as:
    • Third-party optical line system discovery and visualization
    • Setup and connectivity verification of alien wavelengths
    • End-to-end service provisioning
    • Monitoring and troubleshooting enhancements
  • XR optics, the market’s first, most versatile, and only coherent 400G solution that supports point-to-point, breakout, and point-to-multipoint applications, with demonstrations of:
    • Subcarrier management – subcarrier assignment and retuning optics to newly allocated subcarriers
    • Coherent single-fiber working scenarios
    • High-speed PON overlay applications
    • Ring and horseshoe metro aggregation applications
    • Network architecture simplification and significant carbon footprint reductions to meet service provider green networking initiatives

We also discussed the full set of options we can deliver to embrace the economics of 400G pluggable technology in virtually all application areas, including multiple use cases in data center connectivity and metro and regional networks. And of course, Infinera’s implementation of XR optics, ICE-XR, plays a key market role in the coherent 400G pluggable technology era and across a diverse set of deployment models, including with optical networking equipment and IP/routing:

Infinera products and solutions diagram

I feel like two years of COVID have helped us all to appreciate the value of partnership and face-to-face collaboration.  On a personal level, I was so happy to talk with industry colleagues and customers that I have known and not seen for years.  I also met many new people and had the opportunity to discuss our industry with them.  I know that I am not alone in these feelings. Multiple attendees and customers stopped by our booth and commented about how busy we were and how much they appreciated our presence and demo delivery with a rich set of optical innovations on display. We are looking forward to next year’s event.

Stay tuned and stay ahead.