The two companies validated Infinera’s photonic integrated circuit (PIC)-based platforms over Lumentum’s white box optical line system, conducting the tests at Infinera’s facilities in Sunnyvale, California. The test validated the white box’s ability to multiplex, amplify, transport, de-multiplex, and hand traffic back to Infinera’s terminals on both ends of a fiber optic cable.
Lumentum’s design of a white box and Infinera’s design of terminals happened independently, says Madhu Krishnaswarmy, a senior director at Lumentum. “We brought them together to demo interoperability toward the goal of open networking across multiple vendors.”
Lumentum is the optical arm of the former JDSU, which broke into two companies in 2015: Lumentum and Viavi (the test and measurement company).
Lumentum has since developed an optical white box strategy. “To our knowledge it’s the first time anyone has attempted to do that,” says Krishnaswarmy.
For Infinera, its willingness to work with optical white boxes marks a recognition that networks are becoming more open and programmable, even at the optical layer.
The companies will primarily target their joint solution at data center interconnect (DCI) and metro transport networks.
Infinera is also talking to its customers about provisioning and control of optical transport networks via software defined networking (SDN). “As these systems become open and disaggregated, we need to make them more programmable; SDN taps into APIs to control terminals and white boxes,” says Pravin Mahajan, director of product marketing with Infinera.
SDN & Optical
Infinera wants to embrace networking trends toward more openness and programmability where possible. “Some parts of the system are getting disaggregated,” Mahajan says. “There are other parts of the system, which are getting integrated.”
His theory is that the line system — having to do with transmission — is becoming disaggregated, while the photonics technology itself is becoming vertically integrated. “The functions that require generation of photons, that is quite complex,” says Mahajan. “The engineering complexity in meeting that requirement points to integration. We find the pursuit of this strategy to be validated by other companies such as Juniper and Ciena.”