By Fady Masoud
Senior Marketing Manager
Recently on the Infinera blog, we discussed how sliceable optics leverage super-channels to enhance networking flexibility and optimize network assets such as power and real estate. The benefits of sliceable optics span a wide scope of applications. This blog describes just a few of the applications often used by communications service providers (CSPs) and internet content providers.
- Traffic aggregation: This application consists of aggregating traffic of various sizes and across different distances to the network head-end before handing the sum of all traffic to core networks. Sliceable optics provide a cost-effective and flexible solution at each remote site, enabling capacity to be remotely scaled from 100 gigabits per second to terabits per second, without forklifting, in a compact footprint and with low power consumption.
- Deploying a dynamic infrastructure for 5G: Next-generation technologies like 5G are expected to disrupt wireless communications due to their requirements for significantly higher bit rates and unprecedented low levels of latency. Therefore, wireless network operators are working tirelessly trying to model and estimate what the real impact on core optical networks will be in terms of capacity and performance. A common network planning practice is to “over-engineer” the network, just to be on the safe side when the deployment of 5G triggers a massive demand for bandwidth in the core. However, such a practice comes with a very high price tag, as network operators must heavily invest in deploying optical networking gear now and wait for 5G revenue to materialize, which could take years (depending on consumer adoption rate) before reaching a level that offsets capital expenditure (CapEx). Sliceable optics provide the flexibility needed for any emerging new technology, like 5G, by allowing network operators to dynamically scale bandwidth up or down based on real demand, without truck rolls and without locking in massive CapEx as “standby” infrastructure (Figure 1). Sliceable optics provide a better return on investment and a more flexible and dynamic infrastructure that meets, or even exceeds, the networking requirements of such disruptive emerging technologies.
- Data center interconnect (point-to-point and mesh): The cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) are fueling the proliferation of data centers in metro and regional networks and across thousands of kilometers. Sliceable optics allow the interconnection of these data centers while providing the high capacity and optical performance that are crucial for the success of such deployments. Sliceable optics also provide the flexibility to evolve network configuration (from point-to-point to mesh) and traffic patterns without network engineering or a massive influx of capital spend.
- Extension of network coverage for CSPs: The ability to partition bandwidth and send it in different directions makes sliceable optics a highly flexible solution optimized for network expansion into new geographical areas. CSPs can now quickly, cost-effectively and efficiently extend their coverage and tap into new markets by deploying Infinera’s solution with sliceable optics (Figure 2). The ease of deployment significantly reduces installation time, while fast service activation through Infinera’s Instant Bandwidth accelerates time to revenue and increases competitive edge.
What Platforms Support Sliceable Optics?
Sliceable optics are one of the key features of Infinera’s fourth-generation Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4). They are supported on the Cloud Xpress 2 and the XT-3300 and XT-3600 meshponder platforms, as well as the XTC Series (XTC-4/10) once upgraded with the AOFX-1200 line card powered by ICE4 (Figure 3).
While super-channels disrupted the optical industry by enabling higher capacity and increased spectral efficiency, sliceable optics elevate networking flexibility to a whole new level. The ability to “slice and dice” super-channels significantly reduces total cost of ownership through lowered power consumption and reduced footprint, increases network agility and streamlines operations through automation and programmability.