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Infinera Corporation
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 2000 as Zepton Networks
Key people
Tom Fallon (CEO); David F. Welch (President).
Products Networking systems and products

Infinera Corporation is a vertically integrated manufacturer of long-haul WDM optical transmission equipment for the service provider market. Its business strategy has been based upon introduction of leading edge speeds, initially with 10 Gb/second, and as of 2013, 100 Gb/second and 500 Gb/second based upon Superchannels (or combining channels). These higher speed offerings are referred to as coherent super-channels. These higher level speeds are enabled by the use of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) which combine digital circuitry and photonic circuitry in a hybrid multi-layer (3-D) component.[1] PIC changes the manageability of optical networking: it has four major benefits: (1) PIC is smaller taking up less room in equipment cabinets than the traditional approach of having separate optical and electronic circuitry (a significant issue in retrofitting terrestrial and the 550,000 miles of submarine networks),[2][3] (2) it provides for lower energy consumption, (3) the integration permits the provision of real time virtualization of optical bandwidth.,[4] and (4) purchasers can buy service ready capacity in large chunks, only pay for the capacity switched on, purchase and switch on unused capacity in 100 Gb/Sec increments without additional equipment installation eliminating the normal costs of service engineers and time delays.

Real time virtualization of bandwidth represents a relatively new capability in optical transport networks. Previously, engineers would have to physically reconfigure equipment to provide for reallocation of bandwidth to different customers channels or services. Provisioning is exceptionally fast with PIC and virtualization. On August 14, 2013, DANTE [5](Delivery of Advanced Networks to Europe, a research and educational network) and Infinera claimed that they had set a Guinness World Records by provisioning 8 Terabit/second of long haul capacity on the GÉANT network in 19 minutes and 1 second using its DTN-X packet optical transport platform from Vancis Amsterdam in the Netherlands to GlobalConnect Hamburg, Germany.[6][7]

Infinera is a vertically integrated company. It has its own fab in Sunnyvale, CA with component packaging occurring in Allentown, PA. Infinera designs and manufactures everything from the ASIC chips to the complete hardware and software systems in-house.


Infinera reports that it had deployed its systems to 126 customers[8] worldwide (as of January, 2014).[9] Customers included Tier 1 domestic carriers, Tier 1 international carriers, MSO/cable operators, Internet content providers, incumbent carriers, research/education/government, and wholesale bandwidth providers. As of January 29, 2014, 20 of its customers had adopted its DTN-X 500 Gbit/s capable product.


Infinera's major direct competitors are Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena Corp., Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies and ZTE.

Major players in the more broadly defined optical market according to technology consulting firms (e.g. ACG[10]) that track the space include Adtran, ADVA, BTI, Cisco, Coriant, Cyan, ECI Telecom, Fujitsu, MRV, NEC, Tejas, and Transmode. Investment analysts[11] covering the firm are listed at


The Infinera DTN platform utilizes its PIC technology to enable digital processing and management of data with the capability to generate WDM wavelengths and to add, drop, switch, manage, protect and restore network traffic digitally using integrated OTN switching. The DTN platform can automate the connection of circuits and provisioning of new services without manual intervention. The DTN platform is modular in design. The initial deployment of the DTN platform at a customer site involves the installation of a line system (including common equipment, such as a chassis, amplifiers, management controllers and related equipment). Service Providers can increase the capacity of the DTN platform by purchasing Digital Line Modules, Tributary Adapter Modules and Tributary Optical Modules. s. The current DTN platform delivers 10 Gbit/s and 40 Gbit/s wavelengths enabling fiber capacity from 1.6 Tbit/s to 6.4 Tbit/s.

The DTN platform is carrier-class, which means that it complies with applicable Telcordia and equivalent major international standards for central office-based network elements. It supports a broad range of optical service interfaces including Ethernet (1 Gigabit Ethernet (“GbE”), 10 GbE, 40 GbE and 100GbE) and separate synchronous optical network/synchronous digital hierarchy. Infinera DTN Platform for Submarine Network Applications For submarine transport applications, the DTN platform can be used as a Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (“SLTE”) node, doubling the total optical capacity of many traditional submarine systems to a maximum of up to 6.4 Tbit/s and distances of up to 8,000 km. The DTN platform leverages its digital operations and software automation to reduce engineering complexity for submarine cable upgrades and to enable lower cost, faster deployment of additional capacity on existing systems.

Infinera Line System Infinera’s Digital Optical Network platforms are built upon and connected to one another using an optical “line system.” The Infinera Line System (“ILS”) provides optical amplification and enables the management communication channels between network nodes. ILS currently supports up to 6.4 Tbit/s of optical capacity on a single fiber using the DTN platform and up to 8 Tbit/s of capacity using the DTN-X platform. ILS is fully integrated into Infinera’s management and control software and can be managed seamlessly across platforms. Infinera’s bandwidth virtualization management capabilities allow customers to manage and utilize the available capacity as a single pool of bandwidth to satisfy customer requirements, including services at speeds from 1 Gbit/s up to 100 Gbit/s.

Infinera's newest product, the DTN-X Platform began commercial shipments in the second quarter of 2012. The DTN-X platform is based on a third generation 500 Gbit/s PICs that integrate more than 600 discrete optical functions delivering the world’s first 500 Gbit/s FlexCoherent super-channels, based on 100 Gbit/s per channel. The higher throughput and virtualization of the DTN-X platform help Service Providers increase their capacity to manage the explosive growth of traffic brought on by video, mobile and cloud-based services. The DTN-X platform is a multi-terabit packet optical transport platform that is fundamentally three products in one:

- a dense WDM (“DWDM”) transmission system based on the world’s first 500 Gbit/s super-channels, unleashing cost-effective DWDM transmission capacity; - an integrated OTN switching system that will scale from 5 Tbit/s in its first release and up to 100 Tbit/s in the future and will enable operators to efficiently manage larger data transmission with grooming of traffic down to 1 Gbit/s granularity; and - a system that is designed to be upgradeable to Multi-Protocol Label Switching (“MPLS”) switching in the future which will help further enable convergence of the network for improved efficiency, reducing the number interconnections between network layers.

Many researchers and optical transport vendors believe that the convergence of network layers can only be achieved when the best in class performance of each individual layer is realized in a single platform.[12][13][14] In most competitive solutions, a Service Provider must make a choice between maximizing either the system’s transmission capacity or its OTN switching capability. The DTN-X platform is designed to converge switching with DWDM transport. The design centers around three Infinera building blocks – PICs paired with a FlexCoherent Processor, custom switching application-specific integrated circuits (“ASICs”) and intelligent Generalized MPLS (“GMPLS”) software. This technological approach allows all components, including the optical functions based on PIC technology, to scale in a manner consistent with Moore’s Law-like semiconductor manufacturing economics.

Infinera ATN Platform The Infinera ATN platform is a coarse WDM and DWDM aggregation and transport solution designed with 400 Gbit/s of total capacity. The ATN platform can be used to extend the Digital Optical Network architecture of the DTN and DTN-X platforms, and can also be used as a standalone WDM access system and multiservice aggregation and transport platform. The ATN platform supports direct wavelength connectivity to DTN and DTN-X nodes, integrating management capabilities across heterogeneous equipment.

Infinera IQ Network Operating System The Infinera IQ Network Operating System is an embedded software operating system, which enables Service Providers to simplify and speed up the tasks they perform to deliver, differentiate, and manage services and to optimize the utilization of their networks. The IQ Network Operating System for the DTN and DTN-X platforms utilize GMPLS for end-to-end provisioning, protection and restoration services, and a wide variety of performance monitoring and software-definable testing capabilities. The ATN platform supports end-to-end provisioning through software features similar to the DTN and DTN-X platforms.

Infinera Management Suite The Infinera Management Suite is a broad set of standards-based network and element management tools and operations support system integration interfaces that are used by Service Providers to manage their DTN, DTN-X and ATN platforms. Its management suite software includes Digital Network Administrator, a scalable element management system, and an easy-to-use Graphical Node Manager web-based management interface. All Infinera hardware products, the DTN, DTN-X and ATN platforms, are managed in an integrated fashion by the Infinera Management Suite. [1]


Infinera was founded in 2000 as Zepton Networks by Drew Perkins, Jagdeep Singh and David Welch. David Welch was recognized in 2013 with the JJ Thomson Medal for Electronics, an award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology for his "role as a pioneer in the field of optical devices and optical networks. His technical contributions and leadership first made it possible to commercially deploy reliable high power semiconductor lasers including 980 nm laser pumps, crucially needed in low noise optical amplifiers employed in DWDM systems. Dr. Welch later achieved the first commercial optoelectronics integrated circuit, several years ahead of any competing research or developments in the laboratory. These early devices marked a quantum step in optical system design. Today, photonic integrated circuits (PICs) are essential to addressing the bandwidth and energy challenges faced by global telecommunications networks." [15][16]

It raised its first round of funding in April 2001.[17] The startup remained in stealth mode until its first products were launched in 2004, although a few early media articles did describe the company's component technology - a photonic integrated circuit in indium phosphide.[18]

Underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Infinera went public on the NASDAQ in 2007, raising $182 million.[19]


  • Tom Fallon – Chief Executive Officer
  • David Welch, Ph.D. – President
  • Brad Feller – Chief Financial Officer
  • Alastair Short – Senior Vice President and General Counsel
  • Bob Jandro – Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales
  • Minoo Mortazavi – Senior Vice President, Systems Manufacturing and Strategic Materials
  • Fred Kish, Ph.D. – Senior Vice President, Optical Integrated Circuit Group
  • Scott Chandler – Senior Vice President, Strategic Sales
  • Lonny Orona – Senior Vice President, Worldwide Customer Service and Technical Support
  • Dick Corsus – Senior Vice President, Systems Engineering [20]


Infinera is a pioneer in design and manufacture of large scale photonic integrated circuits or PIC.[21][22] A Google patent search [23] reveals that over 500 patents have been filed by Infinera in optical transport.[24] Eleven of its patents pertain to virtualization of optical bandwidth.[25]

Infinera's technology appears to be exceptionally reliable. In March 2011, the company announced "500,000 hours of failure free operation worldwide". The company claims that its PIC technology has never failed in a customer network.[26][27]

The production efficiency of using monolithic integration with PIC has permitted Infinera to build large super-channel cards with capacity of 500 gigabit/second. This large throughput may be in excess of actual carrier requirements. Infinera has changed its business model to permit purchase of a 500 Gbit/s. line card by a carrier, but only switch on capacity in 100 Gb/second units of capacity. The company refers to this pricing model as "Cashflow-Efficient Instant Bandwidth" and has trademarked the term. The company's technology roadmap projects linecards' throughput to scale to 4 terabit and beyond.[28]

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  17. ^ Zepton Has an $86M War Chest in Light Reading.
  18. ^ The Light Brigade appeared in Red Herring in 2002.
  19. ^ Infinera Corp. IPO raises $182 million Reuters
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