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Infinera 2022 Predictions: Accelerated Traffic Demands Driving Enhanced Supply Chains to Deliver Faster, More Diverse, Open, and Greener Networks

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Accelerated Traffic Demands Driving Enhanced Supply Chains to Deliver Faster, More Diverse, Open, and Greener Networks

By Tim Doiron, Infinera

From the access edge to metro, long-haul, and submarine networks, traffic growth is putting pressure on our networks and our supply chains. In a 2021 ACG Research report, service providers anticipated a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the various segments of their networks ranging from 46% in residential broadband to 39% for submarine through 2025. Metro, long-haul, 5G mobile transport, and data center interconnect (DCI) are all expected to grow between 42% and 45% annually. The ability of service providers and optical networking vendors to meet this level of sustained traffic growth is at the heart of my 2022 predictions.


Building Supply Chain Resiliency

The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the nature and risks of our global supply chains.  Two years into the pandemic, we continue to experience shortages and months-long delays for all kinds of products, from automobiles to bicycles and home appliances.  In response, companies are rethinking the resiliency and diversity of their supply chains as well as the amount of vertical integration in their products and under their direct control.  While supply constraints will continue into 2022, this ongoing, multi-year exercise should benefit network operators, vendors, and their customers by driving increased resiliency and product availability into the ecosystem - thus enabling vendors to increase networking capacity with advanced optical networking solutions on time and within budget. 

800G Deployments Accelerate

Accelerating adoption of 800G coherent DWDM embedded optical engines like Infinera's ICE6 will help network operators cost-effectively address growing capacity demands for their optical transport networks in 2022 and beyond.  In a 2021 Heavy Reading report, 53% of service provider respondents indicated they would be deploying 800G embedded coherent optics in their networks through 2023, with 12% indicating that they were already deploying in 2021.  In a follow-up question, half of the survey participants anticipated that greater than 20% of their long-haul/submarine wavelengths would be deployed with 800G coherent optical technology between now and 2025.  Slightly fewer at 44% expect to have 800G coherent comprise greater than 20% of wavelengths in their metro networks over the same time frame.

The combination of programmability and advanced technologies like 96 Gbaud symbol rates, second-generation digital subcarriers, and long-codeword probabilistic constellation shaping is enabling superior performance vs. prior generations at 800 Gb/s, but also at 700 Gb/s, 600 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s. Programmability also means 800 Gb/s transmission technology is applicable to more networks at any reach, including fixed- or flexible-grid channel spacings and legacy or modern fiber optic cables. The ability to provide increased capacity per fiber with fewer wavelengths and less equipment creates compelling economics for accelerated 800 Gb/s coherent adoption in submarine, long-haul, DCI, and metro networks with limited fiber availability.

400G ZR+ - Not So Fast Yet

Pluggable optical engines have made great strides in increasing performance while reducing power and size with support for QSFP-DD and CFP-2 packages.  In 2022, we see communication service providers (CSPs) testing and identifying use cases for 400G ZR+ pluggables, but we expect deployments to ramp slower than some anticipate and for most deployments to occur in conjunction with optical networking equipment instead of directly into routers. There are two underlying reasons.  First, it will take time for CSPs to fully operationalize 400G ZR+ coherent DWDM pluggable optics into routers/switches.  Second, we believe that in the near term many commercially available 400G ZR+ pluggables in the smaller QSFP-DD package will have lower transmit power than larger CFP-2-packaged pluggables.  The larger CFP-2 package reduces router faceplate density and will thus lead to more deployments with optical platforms than in routing.  One of the key areas that organizations like the Open XR Forum multi-source agreement (MSA) working group are working on is standardizing the operationalization of coherent pluggable optics in routing/switching and other diverse environments.  In addition, innovations like Nyquist digital subcarrier-based XR optics, higher levels of optical subassembly vertical integration, and utilization of indium phosphide substrate will enhance the capabilities of QSFP-DD pluggables, including delivering increased launch power and performance, which will lead to increased router/switch adoption over time.

Open Optical Networking Becomes a Requirement

With more embedded and pluggable optical engine technologies deployed in more diverse environments and network elements, including routers, switches, and transponders, more network operators will lean into open optical networking in 2022.  By disaggregating transponder/muxponder functions from the underlying optical line system and leaning into open optical networking, service providers will benefit from more choice, faster innovation, and improved economics.  And in a world with supply chain challenges, open optical networking may become an imperative by enabling service providers to source optical engine and transponder technology from multiple suppliers and thus improve supply continuity.

Green Moves onto More Executive Dashboards

With countries and companies focused on reducing their carbon footprints and overall power consumption, 2022 is the year when green networking initiatives will move onto network operator executive dashboards.  Companies are not just thinking about incremental improvements either.  While near-term achievements are necessary, network operators are also beginning to set ambitious long-term goals.  One example is the European service provider Deutsche Telekom, which is targeting overall carbon neutrality by 2040.  These ambitions will require both incremental improvements for today's network architectures and vision to reimagine tomorrow's.  Technology innovations like 400G pluggable XR optics that support third-generation Nyquist digital subcarriers for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint architectures can provide leapfrog or step-function improvements in power and footprint by reducing the number of transceivers by almost 50% and eliminating the need for intermediate electrical aggregation. Companies that don't have targeted goals and objectives for going green are going to miss out.

That's my five predictions.  I wish you safety, happiness, and much success in 2022. 



Tim Doiron 

Tim Doiron is Sr. Director, Solution Marketing at Infinera, where he focuses on innovative networking solutions that include coherent optical transmission, IP/MPLS routing, next-generation mobile transport, and broadband evolution with distributed access architecture (DAA) and edge computing. In this role, Tim leads the global marketing team responsible for go-to-market strategies and communications programs for Infinera’s Infinite Edge, Infinite Core and Intelligent Software Automation solutions. Built upon open, disaggregated, and programmable network innovation, these solutions enable network operators to enhance network capacity, visibility, intelligence, and automation to simplify operations and speed service velocity.

Tim brings more than 25 years of networking and telecommunications experience across business and technical organizations, including roles in marketing, product management, and engineering. Tim was most recently a Principal Analyst and Consultant at ACG Research, leading the firm’s Intelligent Networking practice. His work focused primarily in the areas of packet-optical networking, data center interconnect, broadband access, multi-layer software-defined networking, network orchestration, and mobile anyhaul. Tim has also served in executive and managerial roles at vendor and service provider companies, including Coriant, Tellabs, ARRIS, Cadant, Ericsson, and AT&T Mobility.

Tim is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has authored numerous articles. He holds an MBA from Webster University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University. He also holds eight patents and is a member of IEEE and the Optical Society (OSA). He is an active member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Industrial Advisory Board at Southern Illinois University, where he serves as an advisor to the department chair.

Published Thursday, January 13, 2022 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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