Inphi Corporation and Verizon Media have successfully validated an upgrade from 100G PAM4 optics to 400G QSFP-DD over the same open line system from Smartoptics. By demonstrating how 100G investments can be made future-proof with easy 400G support, this milestone in connectivity paves the way for better ROI and faster moves to meet the trends driving an enormous surge in data.

Meeting the challenge of exponential data growth and advanced applications

The exponential growth in data center network traffic is driving the need for enterprise upgrades to faster networking. At the same time, cloud, HD video and 5G applications are causing an enormous surge in data, which challenges service providers to upgrade their infrastructure as well. With millions of users wanting rich high-quality media, Verizon Media is a good example of an industry giant that is on the front lines of this challenge and advancing the disaggregation of optics, switching and optical line systems.

To ensure that its content delivery network remains ready for the demands of tomorrow, Verizon strives to constantly stay at the leading edge of technology to drive network scalability, while building the most price competitive and efficient infrastructure possible. This requires fast network connectivity with particularly low latency and high capacity DWDM interconnects.

When to upgrade – no longer a difficult decision

The natural way to meet these connectivity needs is to upgrade to 100G now, the current industry benchmark. However, if you want to be ready for the next big thing right around the corner, 400G, does that mean you have to make two separate investments in a short period of time?

Normally, a networking upgrade is a major investment that naturally comes at a cost in the form of the price tag, downtime, and the time and energy spent on product selection and implementation. So, rather than upgrading twice, should we just wait for 400G? Actually, Verizon has now shown that this doesn’t have to be as difficult a decision as you might have thought.

As easy as plugging in a new transceiver

By utilizing the same open line system from Smartoptics, the DCP-M, and adding Inphi’s new transceivers with 400ZR support, Verizon’s upgrade from 100G to 400G was seamless and simple. The validation process involved using an Arista 400G switch to add 400G connectivity alongside the existing 100G DWDM channels on the Smartoptics Open Line System without affecting any of the 100G waves. The verified solution has proven how Verizon, along with other network providers, will be able to rapidly, easily and cost effectively add terabits of capacity in response to customer demands.

“At Smartoptics, we strive to develop future-proof equipment,” explains Smartoptics CMO Per Burman. “In line with this, we ensured that the Smartoptics open line system would, in theory, be upgradable by simply unplugging the current transceiver and replacing it with a 400G transceiver once these were available. Now this has been shown to work in practice by a telecom giant that only settles for the best. We are proud of the role our technology played in this groundbreaking achievement in connectivity.”

Have your cake and eat it too with the right open line system

From enterprises and their DCI to service providers and their smart networks, everyone is hungry for future-proof solutions that will deliver.

“The key to strong ROI in networking is to make sure your open line system supports both 100G connectivity and 400ZR, a unique combo that is rare on the market. Our DCP-M is a great example, which, when combined with up-to-date optics, opens new possibilities for DCI total cost of ownership reductions while providing a seamless upgrade path to 400G. Instead of choosing between a 100G upgrade today or a 400G upgrade tomorrow, you can now have your cake and eat it too,” says Per.

Learn more about Smartoptics open line systems and the journey to 100G and 400G

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The path to smart 100G connectivity

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