Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN, news, filings) has finally started shipping its next generation DTN-X platform, by the end of Q2 as they had previously promised. They've already announced two early customers over in Europe: EPEG and DANTE for the 500Gbps superchannel PICs, but I expect we will see some additional network operators sign on publicly over the next few weeks and months. Interoute and XO seem like obvious ones to start with, but it will be any larger network operators that aren't already customers that would really get the market's attention. Verizon Business in particular was the focus of some speculation last fall, as they offered a supporting quote last autumn.
Investors have been waiting for a long time for the shift in the company's product line to help it break the rest of the way into the Tier 1 market. Their original 10x10G PICs shook up the 10G wavelength business about as much as one can expect from a new entrant that arrives late to the game. But revenues topped out a few years ago while the next generation has been in development. Now at last they've got their with 5x100G PICs to market, and just as the bigger pipes are starting to see real deployment.
Of course, they aren't the only one taking aim at the industry giants. Ciena clearly sees the next transition as its opportunity to take share from the field, as do a bevy of smaller nextgen vendors like ADVA and Xtera.
Infinera also recently put forth an analysis tool, called the Efficient Quotient, aimed at helping network operators understand the total cost of ownership of their network architecture. Today's networks are all about finding ways to scale and keep on scaling. We're in the midst of a bit of a singularity in network design, where the old ways obviously can't take us further but the new ways aren't yet fully developed.
Infinera's point is that 100G wavelengths are actually a pretty small piece of the puzzle. Of course, their solution to scaling networks for both size and complexity is what it has always been: photonic integrated circuits. Might the next era be that of the PIC? We'll see I guess, and it should become evident over the next few quarters whether the DTN-X is taking hold.
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