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13 June 2012
Network operator DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) has selected Infinera to supply optical transmission equipment for the GÉANT pan-European network that it operates on behalf of Europe’s national research and education communities.
DANTE selected Infinera’s DTN-X platform, which is designed to provide up to 2Tbps of total capacity across the core network.  DANTE says the investment – the amount of which was not disclosed – will “effectively future-proof Europe’s critical network up until 2020.”
GÉANT directly connects 17 major European cities in 16 countries across 12,000 km of fibre. Combined with Europe's national research and education networks (NRENs), GÉANT brings together 40 million researchers and millions of students in over 8,000 institutions across Europe. Some of the world’s largest scientific institutions rely on GÉANT, including CERN for its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) research, and the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (EVN) for radio astronomy research.
The optical layer of GÉANT’s network transports massive amounts of data to support experiments and applications that are crucial to academic research. The LHC is one of the largest scientific experiments in the world, generating about 25 petabytes of data per year. 
Other experiments also require large amounts of bandwidth, but for a limited period.  Infinera says a key factor in DANTE’s selection of the DTN-X was the Bandwidth Virtualization capability, which exploits integrated OTN switching and GMPLS to provision bandwidth quickly as and where it is required. 
Infinera introduced the DTN-X, its next-generation optical networking system, in September 2011 (see Infinera gets ready for the terabit age). The system is designed around 500Gbps photonic integrated circuits (PICs), with each PIC supporting five optical carriers and each carrier running at 100Gbps.
“We are impressed by Infinera’s PIC technology and the DTN-X platform – from significantly simplifying our operations and reducing the time to deploy bandwidth to fundamentally lowering our total cost of ownership – these were all factors that we considered against more conventional competitors,” said Michael Enrico, CTO at DANTE.
This is the second announced customer for the DTN-X (the first being Cable & Wireless WorldWide). Research and education networks are often early adopters of new technology, so Infinera views the win with DANTE as a very positive sign for the future.  “Research and education networks such as GÉANT... are leading indicators of how next-generation networks will be built,” said Tom Fallon, chief executive officer of Infinera.
Roll out of the new technology will begin in the second quarter of 2012.
By Pauline Rigby