Infinera Pitches Photonic Circuits To Cable Operators

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The parade of equipment vendors who trekked to Keystone, Colo., for the CableLabs annual closed-door summer conference this month included Infinera, a maker of photonic integrated circuits for use in Gigabit Ethernet and dense wave-division multiplexing transport.

Infinera’s goal is to convince MSOs to use photonic — rather than silicon-based — integrated circuits, and eliminate the complexity of having to manage lasers, modulators, power detectors and WDM multiplexers on each fiber wavelength in their transport plant.

By building photonic integrated circuits, and placing those chips at the beginning and end of transport streams, operators can eliminate 50 fiber couplers and 40 fiber packages, said Infiera vice president of technical marketing Serge Melle. It’s perfect for large metro or regional applications, because it “saves significant space and power,” he said.

Melle said Infinera has begun talking to cable companies. Also, Level 3 Communications is taking Infinera gear, and several MSOs use Level 3 for data and voice-over-Internet protocol backbone services.

Melle said cable’s traditional transport suppliers haven’t made photonic gear, but with the proliferation of new services, especially VOD and cable modems, operators will need simple solutions to needs for greater bandwidth and increased flexibility.

While standard definition signals would continue to be sent via electronic gear, operators could move video-on-demand, data and VoIP traffic on IP platforms to optical transport and use photonic integrated circuits.

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