An interview with Robert Shore, VP of Marketing for Infinera

Editor’s Note: Infinera has made two major announcements recently about their new 800 Gig technology.  The first was a laboratory trial conducted with Corning’s TXF® optical fiber that demonstrated 800G over 800 kilometers, while the second transmitted 800G over 950 kilometers on industry-standard fiber in a live network trial

With this backdrop, SubCableWorld spoke with Robert Shore, Vice President of Marketing for Infinera, about the trials and the potential for 800G technology in the future.  Mr. Shore’s comments are below.

Mr. Shore: We’re very excited about our recent announcement of successfully transmitting a single carrier 800G wavelength over 950km in a live production network over a third party line system using industry standard fiber. By being able to transmit 800G over distances, that competitive solution can only get 600G or 400G means we’re able to provide our customers with a 25% to 50% improvement the cost per bit, power per bit, and spectral efficiency. This type of performance will be instrumental in helping our customers to cost effectively and operationally efficiently increase the capacity of their network to meet the ever-growing bandwidth demands.

Our recent announcements are part of the program development for ICE6 800G optical engine.  We’re building the ICE engine in this discreet form factor, which is a 5”x7” Digital Coherent Optical (DCO) package that we can easily integrate into a variety of different platforms or even potentially something that we can sell separately.

The first platform that ICE6 is being integrated into is our Groove DCI platform or compact modular platform.  We’re at the stage now where we have the ICE6 engine integrated into a sled – or interface module - and that plugs into our Groove chassis. We’re really starting to test the capabilities of the ICE6 engine in field-deployable configurations.

We started that by doing lab characterizing and profiling.  Once we got that under our belts, we were ready to do some lab-related demonstrations.  We thought that was a good opportunity to partner with somebody like Corning, a fiber expert, in an actual network-type scenario.  We wanted to find out how far we could go.  Corning sent us 800 kilometers of fiber, which already was beyond the distance that most people in the industry believed an 800 Gig transmission could go.  We got that fiber and did the demonstration and we not only closed the link but we had quite a bit of margin left over.  So our next phone call was to Corning, where we asked them to ship us more fiber.

We’ve recently received that fiber and will shortly be conducting customer demonstrations over distances greater than 800km.

The Corning demonstration gave us a pretty good sense of the performance our 800 Gig could achieve. So, we started looking a production network environment that would enable us to really showcase the capabilities of our 800G engine. There was no shortage of network operators that were interested in engaging with us as they are anxious to prove their network can support 800G based transmissions.  As a result, we were able to select a network and a link that was ideal for achieving all our key objectives.

  • A live production network
  • A distance - > 950km - that would truly showcase the performance capabilities of our ICE6 800G optical engine
  • Using industry standard G.652 fiber
  • Over a 3rd party line system
  • Carrying live network traffic

The idea was to conduct a trial over a very typical type of long-haul network that would be indicative of the performance that any network operator should expect over virtually any existing long haul optical network.  

While this initial trial was focused on 800G, additional trials for 600G and 400G are in-process. We expect equally impressive results that are significantly greater than anything announced by any other solution providers driving our cost per bit, power per bit, and spectral efficiency advantages into ultra-long haul and even submarine networks.