3 September 2010


Infinera and XO complete 1348km field trial of coherent 100G transmission on PICs

Infinera Corp of Sunnyvale, CA, USA, a vertically integrated manufacturer of digital optical network systems incorporating its own indium phosphide-based photonic integrated circuits (PICs), has completed a field trial of 100Gb/s coherent transmission over a 1348km route on the nationwide network of XO Communications of Herndon, VA, USA (a provider of communications services for businesses and communications services providers).

The trial used Infinera’s new 500G PICs, which each integrate five 100G channels. The firm believes that the field trial marks a significant step towards commercial deployment of PIC-based optical systems based on 100G coherent transmission to deliver upgrades in total fiber capacity as well as the disruptive economics of photonic integration.  

The field trial involved the 500G PICs transmitting and receiving a 100G signal on a 1348km production route between Denver and Dallas on the XO optical fiber network. The route is built with Infinera’s 100G-ready ILS wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) line system, which provides scalable fiber capacity up to 8 Terabits per second. During the trial the ILS system was carrying 10G and 100G channels simultaneously. The 100G channel was transmitted using PM-QPSK modulation and coherent detection to enable error-free unrepeatered transmission over ultra-long-haul distances. Infinera believes this to be the world's first demonstration of 100G coherent transmission using fully integrated optical 500G PICs at both transmitter and receiver, including the use of integrated local oscillators in the PIC receiver.

“XO Communications looks forward to the increased capacity and superior efficiency we anticipate these 100G systems will deliver, as we work to meet growing bandwidth demands from our enterprise and wholesale service provider and mobile wireless customers,” says XO's chief technology officer Randy Nicklas.

“This trial marks an important milestone in our plan to deliver 100G communications and the next generation of multi-Terabit per second digital optical networks based on 500G PICs,” says Infinera's CEO Tom Fallon. “These new systems will become a disruptive force in the optical market, just as our 10G systems were when we introduced them in 2004,” he adds.

Infinera reckons that the introduction of 100G PIC-based systems will have key implications for the economics of future networks, which will require many more optical functions per wavelength than existing networks. This requirement stems from the advanced modulation formats needed for 100G transmission, and can be expected to lead to increased network cost and complexity if implemented using conventional optical components.

To solve this problem, Infinera’s 500G PICs incorporate more than 600 optical elements on a pair of indium phosphide chips, delivering significant benefits to next-generation Internet-centric networks, says the firm, and providing an effective means for service providers to scale network capacity while simultaneously obtaining lower space consumption, lower power consumption, increased reliability, and better network economics.

In the longer term, without photonic integration, ever-increasing bandwidth demand would continue to drive up network complexity, making photonic integration key to achieving superior carrier economics, says Infinera.

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