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Reimagining a Greener Metro with XR Optics

portrait of Fady Masoud

May 18, 2022
By Fady Masoud
Director, Solutions Marketing

XR Optics Wins Award at Deutsche Telekom Partner Summit for Green Future 2022

It’s about measurable actions, not just words! This was my takeaway after attending the Deutsche Telekom Partner Summit for Green Future 2022. Many executives and speakers outlined the company’s vision and steady progress toward sustainability and building a climate-neutral future by reducing CO2/greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and creating a framework for circular business and operations.

DT’s executives made it clear that the company’s march toward a climate-neutral future also requires commitment and firm execution from its suppliers by designing environmentally friendly products with less hazardous/toxic materials, more efficient energy consumption, and a lifecycle focused around circularity and reuse. While incremental improvements are positive, DT acknowledged the need for innovations that create significant stepwise improvements and network transformation.

I can’t agree more and was thrilled to witness DT’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality to set us on a path toward a cleaner environment. Our planet is at a crossroads, with daily headlines reminding us of the consequences of failing to act.

It is estimated that telecommunication operators consume approximately 3-5% of global energy demand, and as demand for connectivity shows no sign of slowdown, electricity consumption is expected to triple. In addition to the rise of electricity consumption, electronic waste (e-waste) that consists of electronic devices, circuit boards, and other electronic components that are retired and thrown away is becoming a major threat to the environment. These junked electronic devices pile up in landfills and further pollute the environment with their toxic material. As a matter of fact, the world discarded 53.6 million tons of e-waste in 2019. E-waste volume grew by 21% between 2014 and 2019, according to the United Nations, a pace that will lead to a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years.

For me, the highlight of the DT Partner Summit was the ceremony for the Green Future Best Practice Awards 2022, where Infinera XR optics technology the won award in Category 1 -“Contribution to Reduce DT Energy Consumption.” Infinera’s submission included a complete application package with a detailed analysis on how XR optics can reduce power consumption by 76% and footprint by 59%, and save hundreds of tons of CO2 emissions, for a single metro network when compared to alternative solutions.

XR Optics for a Greener Planet

Since the inception of optical networking, there has been a significant misalignment between actual traffic patterns and the technology used to transport that traffic. Network traffic patterns, particularly in metro networks, are overwhelmingly hub and spoke. In contrast, optical connectivity solutions have been implemented using strictly point-to-point technology. The result is an extremely inefficient transport architecture that requires large numbers of bookended transceivers, as well as numerous intermediate aggregation devices to “up-speed” traffic flows.

Built upon innovation in Nyquist subcarriers, XR optics enables a single transceiver to generate numerous lower-speed subcarriers that can be independently steered to different destinations, enabling the industry’s first scalable point-to-multipoint, direct low-speed to high-speed optical transceiver connectivity over a fiber pair or a single fiber.

When point-to-point connectivity is required, XR optics is designed to enable it without comprising on performance or management. XR optics’ high optical performance, 0 dBm in a QSFP-DD form factor, and spectral shaping enable scalable 400G connectivity over longer distances, as well as over current optical networking building blocks such as filters, ROADMs, etc. XR optics’ enhanced management and embedded features allow faster turn-up, quick diagnostics, and failure prediction with real-time telemetry.

Flexibility in supporting point-to-point and point-to-multipoint, coupled with advanced system-level features, translates into significant business and operational benefits. In addition to their lower power consumption and compact footprint, XR optics enables a greener impact on the environment by significantly reducing the number of devices and platforms that will eventually end up as e-waste in landfills. Specifically, XR optics enables the reduction of the number of transceivers by more than 50%, optimized router utilization, and the elimination of intermediate aggregation, plus the related environment impact of all these factors – power consumption, heat dissipation, toxic waste, etc.

XR optics software configurability significantly reduces truck rolls and therefore CO2 emissions, as capacity can be remotely and dynamically increased, decreased, or shifted across the network.

To put things into perspective, a detailed analysis has been performed on a single horseshoe network, a very common configuration for metro aggregation, with two hubs and five endpoints or leaves. Redundant hardware at each endpoint is used for traffic protection. This analysis revealed significant benefits and green impact enabled by XR optics. More specifically:

  • A 76% reduction in power consumption, equivalent to more than $155,000 in yearly savings on electricity bill
  • 59% reduction in footprint
  • 418.8-ton reduction in CO2 emissions
  • 10 fewer network platforms

This positive impact is further amplified as typical service providers have between 150 and 300 of these horseshoe configurations in their networks.

My Takeaways

Reducing CO2 emissions and ensuring a greener and better planet for the generations to come will only happen by taking concrete actions, as repeatedly mentioned on stage at the DT Partner Summit for Green Future 2022, a message that resonated with the audience. I am excited about the future and the leadership shown by DT in executing a measurable plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate their carbon footprint. I am also proud of leading-edge technologies like XR optics that can be game-changers in making a positive contribution to this worldwide initiative toward a greener and cleaner habitat for us and future generations.