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

Infinera Corporation is a vertically integrated manufacturer of long-haul Wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) optical transmission equipment for the telecommunications service provider market. It was a pioneer in design and manufacture of large scale photonic integrated circuits (PICs).

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, the company sells data communications equipment to network operators building the global infrastructure that underpins the Internet. The company’s systems can send large amounts of data on optical fiber cables.


Infinera was founded in 2000 as Zepton Networks by Drew Perkins, Jagdeep Singh and David Welch.

It raised its first round of funding in April 2001.[1] 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.[2]

Underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Infinera went public on the NASDAQ in 2007, raising $182 million.[3]

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, including PICs.[4][5]

In August 2015, Infinera acquired Transmode, a supplier of metro packet-optical networking solutions based in Stockholm, Sweden (following an offer made in April 2015).[6] Transmode shareholders receiving a mix of cash and Infinera shares, giving a total equity value for Transmode of about $350 million.[7][8][9]

Today, the company has its own fab in Sunnyvale, with component packaging occurring in Allentown, Pennsylvania, plus the former Transmode facility in Stockholm. For many of its products, Infinera designs and manufactures in-house the photonic integrated circuits (PICs), the ASIC chips, and the hardware and software systems, including operating and management systems and software-defined network (SDN) software to extend network virtualization into the optical layer. The company refers to its combined component development, product development and system manufacturing as vertically integrated.


Industry overview[edit]

Optical networking equipment carries information using light waves via fiber optic cables. With the advent of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) systems, larger amounts of data are transmitted by using multiple wavelengths over a single optical fiber. Network operators deploy WDM systems to carry communications between continents, across countries, between cities and within large metropolitan areas. Growth in bandwidth-intensive services – like streaming high-definition videos, the proliferation of mobile broadband and the growth of Cloud-based services – is driving the need for increased bandwidth. Optical networking is one solution for supporting growing bandwidth requirements. Network operators compete by delivering differentiated services; to do so, they need to scale their networks to create rich end-user experiences based on efficient high bandwidth transport.

Infinera products[edit]

Infinera has pioneered design and manufacture of large scale photonic integrated circuits (PICs).[10] Over 300 patents have been filed by Infinera[11][12] in fields including optical transport and virtualization of optical bandwidth.

In March 2011, Infinera announced "500,000 hours of failure free operation worldwide". The company claims that its PIC technology has never failed in a customer network.[13][14]

The production efficiency of using monolithic integration with PIC has permitted Infinera to build large super-channel cards with capacity of 500 gigabit/second. In 2015, it announced Facebook had deployed an Infinera Intelligent Transport Network to light the world's longest terrestrial optical network route (3,998km), capable of delivering up to eight terabits per second of data transmission capacity (equivalent to streaming one million high-def videos simultaneously).[15]

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 road map projects linecards' throughput to scale to 4 terabit and beyond.[16]

Business strategy[edit]

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.[10] 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),[17][18] (2) it provides for lower energy consumption, (3) the integration permits the provision of real time virtualization of optical bandwidth,[19] 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 [20](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.[21][22]

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[23] worldwide (as of January, 2014).[24] 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[25]) that track the space include Adtran, ADVA, BTI, Cisco, Coriant, Cyan, ECI Telecom, Fujitsu, MRV, NEC, Tejas and Fibrolan.


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.[26][27][28] 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 (IMS) 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.[29]


  • 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
  • Dirk Corsus – Senior Vice President, Systems Engineering [30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zepton Has an $86M War Chest, Light Reading, 14 December 2001. Accessed: 12 August 2015.
  2. ^ The Light Brigade appeared in Red Herring in 2002. Archived June 7, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Infinera Corp. IPO raises $182 million, above range, Reuters, 6 June 2007. Accessed: 12 August 2015.
  4. ^ Infinera's Dr. David Welch Receives Prestigious Engineering Award From Institution of Engineering and Technology (Infinera news release), 20 November 2013. Accessed: 12 August 2015.
  5. ^ Infinera Co-founder Receives Engineering Award,, 20 November 2013. Accessed: 12 August 2015
  6. ^ Morris, Iain (9 April 2015). "Infinera Makes $350M Offer for Sweden's Transmode". Light Reading. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Transmode Shareholders Accept Infinera Buyout Offer NASDAQ RTT News, 14 August 2015. Retrieved: 24 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Transmode shareholders OK Infinera deal". 14 August 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Transmode Shareholders Approve Infinera Takeover". Light Reading. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Greene, Kate (January 1, 2007). "World's Fastest Optical Chip". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Results of Search in US Patent Collection db for: Infinera: 340 patents.". US Patent Database. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Google patent search on 12 August 2015 revealed 189; Freshpatents search for years 2009-2015, up to 12 August 2015, found 278 results.
  13. ^[dead link]
  14. ^ Infinera Named Second Fastest-Growing Tech Company in North America (Infinera news release), 12 November 2009. Accessed 12 August 2015.
  15. ^ Kassner, MIchael (April 15, 2015). "Facebook's data center connection to the terrestrial long-distance record". TechRepublic. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Photonic Integration (Infinera white paper), 2013. Accessed 12 August 2015.
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