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On November 17, 2016, Infinera announced the meshponder for 2.4Tbps super-channel. The meshponder utilizes Infinera's Infinite Capacity Engine, which incorporates Infinera's fourth-generation Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC). Infinera has been lagging the market with a single-channel 16QAM 200G solution as well as point solutions in regional networks, so this will allow it to compete more effectively by offering higher-capacity and purpose-built point solutions for high-traffic scenarios.

Infinera catches up on 16QAM 200G and has more to come

Infinera needed to deliver a 16QAM 200G solution and has created the meshponder, a platform based on a sliceable 2.4Tbps super-channel technology delivered by the Infinite Capacity Engine. It has laid out a plan for six products over the next year that address metro/regional and backbone markets and use or enhance the Infinite Capacity Engine.

The next-generation PIC in Infinera's meshponder provides 4.8x the capacity of its previous 500G PIC. The fourth-generation PIC is used in two solution types: the point-to-point Cloud Express 2 (CX2) announced in August and the new meshponder solutions. The new meshponder can be connected to different meshponders with different slices (channels) directed to the appropriate meshponders. The slicing capability is enabled by the new Flexgrid ROADM. Infinera's solution can slice "elephant flows" of traffic for data centers and "mouse flows" for carriers and everything in between in 100G increments. The new PIC can adjust below 100G on a channel if the optical fiber can only support that much bandwidth, shifting to a BPSK, QPSK, 8QAM, and 16QAM capability as conditions require. The solution relies on the Xceed SDN Controller to manage the digital signal processor (DSP) for modulation, slicing the network, and adding bandwidth on demand between meshponders. Infinera will release a 400GbE client once standards are finalized to go with the 10GbE and 100G OTN and Ethernet clients on the XTC-4/10 platform.

Infinera's portfolio of meshponders addresses the growing bandwidth needs of carriers and data centers by offering 200G, open line systems, and purpose-built solutions. Infinera is going through a product transition similar to what happened with the transition from second-generation PIC to the third-generation PIC (100G) where adoption takes time. This time the customers can upgrade their existing platforms for the new PIC as opposed to deploying a new system. In addition, Infinera has added a right-sized solution to add traffic from smaller sites, thus expanding their opportunities. Infinite Capacity Engine will allow Infinera to grow its revenue based on new 16QAM 200G upgrade opportunities. The new meshponder offers carriers and webscale companies the openness, support for existing infrastructure, and flexibility they need to grow their backbone or submarine networks.


Further reading

"Infinera announces Cloud Xpress 2, a purpose-built metro DCI solution," TE0006-001288 (September 2016)

Market Share Report: 2Q16 ON Global, TE0006-001289 (September 2016)

Market Share Spreadsheet: 3Q16 ON Global, TE0006-001307 (December 2016)

OFC 2016: More Innovation and Volume for Data Center Intra- and Interconnect, TE0017-000066 (April 2016)


Don Frey, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks

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