Infinera hits 1.2 Tbps with Ice7, debuts Ice-X sub-systems portfolio

Infinera revamped its optical solutions portfolio with the debut of its new Ice7 coherent optical engine and made a move to get into the sub-systems business with a new Ice-X line of transmit-receive optical sub-assemblies (TROSAs), digital signal processors (DSPs) and pluggable optical transceivers.

Ice7 is the follow up to the Ice6 optical engine Infinera unveiled in 2019. Headline features include 5 nm process technology, support for 1.2 Tbps and a 148 gigaBaud rate, which mark a step up from the 800 Gbps and around 100 gigaBaud rate boasted by the Ice6. It is also capable of supporting 800G transmissions over a distance of up to 3,000 kilometers – which is nearly three times what the Ice6 offered.

Rob Shore, Infinera’s SVP of marketing, told Fierce the Ice7 will help operators reduce their cost per bit by up to 30% and power per bit by up to 60%.

Cisco and Nokia both offer products capable of supporting 1.2 Tbps on a single wavelength, while Ciena just debuted a 1.6 Tbps solution. Asked what sets Infinera’s solution apart, Shore said its optical front end, or TROSA.

“I would contend on a pluggable the TROSA accounts for about 70% of the performance,” he said. “So one pluggable versus another the performance will be determined by the quality of the TROSA. On an embedded optical engine, it’s probably 50-50, so the DSP’s a bit more important but still not more than 50%.”

Ice7 is expected to become available in the first half of 2024. And Shore said Infinera already has an eye toward the future.

Specifically, he hinted the vendor’s forthcoming Ice8 product will be based on a 3 nm process and will “take a different approach” to boosting performance. “It’s not going to continue to try to beat the problem to death with a Baud hammer,” he quipped.


Infinera this week also announced it is looking to become a sub-systems vendor with the launch of its Ice-X suite of offerings. These include three options each for TROSAs, DSPs and pluggable transceivers. The TROSA options support 32, 64 and 140 gigabaud rates, while the DSPs and pluggables support 100G, 400G and 800G. The 100G and 400G solutions are available today, with the 800G options due out in the first half of 2024.

Shore said the move to commercialize its components follows Infinera’s decision to move to a building block approach internally.

“That wasn’t our intention originally, but we have now learned there’s quite a bit of interest in it and we’re building it anyway,” he said. “So, even if the market isn’t that massive – and it’s probably not, you’re probably talking about a maybe $100, $150 million market for this type of stuff – it’s nothing to sneeze at.”

Shore explained that “using a building block approach allows us to better leverage these components for a wider variety of optical engines. So, we started doing that anyway for our own purposes.” Subsequent conversations with customers and suppliers about its TROSA over the past year-plus, however, “made it clear they want to buy it.”

He added Infinera already has at least two customers for its TROSAs, but expects to have more soon given as many as eight companies have already expressed interest.