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16 August 2011
Infinera is on target with development of its 500 Gbps photonic integrated circuit (PIC) judging from the news that the device has been running in a field trial with African carrier Seacom.  The PIC is the crucial technology inside the company’s much anticipated 100Gbps coherent system, which is expected to reach the market by July 2012.


Infinera has previously tested the PIC in the field: using Interoute’s pan-European network in March, and with XO Communications in North America last September.  However, this is the first time that the 500 Gbps PIC has been used to transmit and provide real-time coherent processing for all five 100Gbps channels simultaneously on a production network, the company claims. 
The latest field trial ran over 1732 km on Seacom’s newly built Dark Fibre Africa route, by looping the optical signals between a submarine cable landing station in KwaZulu Natal and a data centre in Johannesburg.
“The trial is a landmark achievement for Seacom and Infinera because it demonstrates our commitment to increase the pace at which African networks are deploying cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure technology to support Africa’s rise as a primary scientific and business destination,” said Brian Herlihy, Seacom’s chief executive officer.
The press release also notes that the field trial “is in line and in support of Seacom’s plans to expand the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8 Tbps”.
In addition to demonstrating 100 Gbps data rates, the trial showed the ability to make a software switch between binary phase shift keying (BPSK) and quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK) modulation formats using Infinera’s FlexCoherent technology.
By Pauline Rigby