Infinera today announced a new version of its optical network platform that promises to increase efficiency and cut the costs of network transport.

One of the key efficiencies is engineering the product to integrate switching with DWDM without trade-offs in capacity, the company said.

Part of that is the ability to aggregate and load 10 Gbps channels into a single 100 Gbps channel. Infinera's MSO market director Gaylord Hart explained that 10 Gbps channels are often fed alone into 100 Gbps channels, an inefficient use of the higher-bandwidth transport.

Since most end-user services today are 10 Gbps or less, global operators require integrated ITU G.709 optical transport network (OTN) switching to groom traffic onto larger 100 Gbps and 500 Gbps pipes to maximize network utilization.

The DTN-X will deliver 5 Tbps of non-blocking OTN switching in a single bay, and in subsequent releases will be upgradeable to configurations providing 100 Tbps of non-blocking OTN and MPLS switching.

Infinera both designs and manufactures its own photonic ICs (PICs). The new DTN-X platform is based on 500 Gbps PICs the company just fabbed. The performance gains the DTN-X represents, Hart told CED, derive from the combination of its own PICs, custom switching ASICs and intelligent GMPLS software. The combination is what enables the DTN-X platform to be configured with up to 5 Tbps of DWDM or service interfaces in each bay, or any combination of the two, without any loss of capacity, Hart explained.

The company said this new version of the DTN-X will consume 33 percent less space and 50 percent less power than alternatives in a typical configuration.

Hart said Infinera will begin making the new platform available for customers to test in the first quarter of 2012, and it will ship in volume in the second quarter.

The company said it recently tested the new PICs on the production network of SeaCom, a pan-African telecommunications provider, demonstrating 500 Gbps of coherent transmission over a distance of more than 1,000 miles (1,732 km).

Hart said the company is already working on a terabit-per-second PIC. A version of the DTN-X based on 1 Tbps "super-channels" should yield up to 24 Tbps per fiber in the future.

Stu Elby, vice president of technology at Verizon, said: "Our growth is continually driving the need for greater integration and efficiency within the network. Innovations such as photonic integrated circuits that enable terabit scale while adding efficiency with integrated transport and switching will be essential to extracting long-term economic value as the network scales to hundreds of terabits."

"We have used DTN as a competitive advantage to simplify our network, deploy services faster and increase bandwidth efficiency," said Randy Nicklas, CTO of XO Communications. "We are looking forward to the new DTN-X platform that will help scale these qualities, while delivering the same ease of use that XO Communications has grown accustomed to from Infinera."

Interoute, whose pan-European network was the first in Europe to deploy Infinera's 100 Gbps PICs more than four years ago, is planning to use Infinera's DTN-X to continue to invest in the scale and reach of its European network. In March, Interoute completed the first successful subsea field trial of a 500 Gbps PIC.

"Interoute successfully exploited the previous generation of PIC technology revolutionizing how high-capacity services were delivered in Europe. We look forward to the DTN-X as the next evolution of the model that has consistently demonstrated cost and operational efficiency," said Matthew Finnie, CTO at Interoute.