Windstream Wholesale and Infinera Complete Successful Trial of LR8-Based 400GbE Client-Side Services

Windstream’s Wholesale Division recently completed a 400 gigabit Ethernet (400 GE)  trial pairing the client-side transmission with 400GbE-LR8 QSFP-DD pluggable interfaces on Infinera’s platform.  Transmission used a single-carrier 600G wavelength, which the companies announced as an industry first.
Pluggables have gained momentum in optical technology as web-scale companies, service providers and data center operators look to deploy some 400G gear this year and even more next year.
“The ability to support 400GbE services with a wide-variety of client interfaces and to carry those services across metro, regional and long-haul distances enables Windstream to seamlessly support their customers’ evolving connectivity needs,” said Infinera’s said Glenn Laxdal, senior vice president and general manager of product management, in a press release.
Infinera’s 600-Gbps enabled Groove (GX) G30 Compact Modular Platform was used in the 400 GE trial.  A G30 version of the Groove was fitted with a 2x600G per wavelength muxponder via a CHM-2T sled. The 400GbE service was carried via a single-carrier 600-Gbps wavelength.Coriant, which originally developed the Groove platform, announced 600-Gbps capabilities for the system shortly before the company was acquired by Infinera in 2018 (see “Coriant adds 600G transmission to Groove via CloudWave T” and “Infinera closes Coriant acquisition”).
800G, 600G, 400G
Image Courtesy of Infinera
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Windstream Wholesale’s optical infrastructure was designed to support high-speed optical services using state-of-the-art flex grid spectrum and flexible colorless-directionless-contentionless (CDC) architecture. Flex grid, which is often paired with CDC, allows service providers to optimize the allocation of spectrum on long-haul fiber based on the required speed and reach of each wavelength.  All of this enables Windstream to tap into cost-effective 400G today, with 600G and 800G wavelengths available down the road.

“Our customers’ bandwidth requirements are growing rapidly, and Windstream is increasing network capacity to meet this demand,” said Buddy Bayer, chief network officer at Windstream. “Infinera’s GX G30 Compact Modular Platform provides an ultra-efficient transport solution enabling us to offer 400GbE services to support our customers’ high-bandwidth needs.  The use of LR8 clients with a single mode fiber interface and a 10-kilometer reach provides an extremely cost-effective solution by enabling us to extend these services directly to our customers’ premises.”

Windstream Wholesale is currently engaging with customers for initial deployment of the end-to-end 400G Wave service. For more information on how you can bring 400G Wave services to your company, call 1-866-375-6040.

To view the Windstream network map, visit https://www.windstreamenterprise.com/wholesale/interactive-map/.

About Windstream

Windstream Holdings, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions. Windstream provides data networking, core transport, security, unified communications and managed services to mid-market, enterprise and wholesale customers across the U.S. The company also offers broadband, entertainment and security services for consumers and small and medium-sized businesses primarily in rural areas in 18 states. Services are delivered over multiple network platforms including a nationwide IP network, our proprietary cloud core architecture and on a local and long-haul fiber network spanning approximately 150,000 miles. Additional information is available at windstream.com or https://www.windstreamenterprise.com/wholesale/. Please visit our newsroom at news.windstream.com or follow us on Twitter at @Windstream.

About Infinera

Infinera is a global supplier of innovative networking solutions that enable carriers, cloud operators, governments, and enterprises to scale network bandwidth, accelerate service innovation, and automate network operations. The Infinera end-to-end packet optical portfolio delivers industry-leading economics and performance in long-haul, submarine, data center interconnect, and metro transport applications. To learn more about Infinera, visit www.infinera.com, follow us on Twitter @Infinera, and read our latest blog posts at www.infinera.com/blog.

Windstream Media Contact
Scott Morris, 501-748-5342
scott.l.morris@windstream.com

Infinera Media Contact
Anna Vue, (916) 595-8157
avue@infinera.com

Source: Windstream Holdings, Inc.

Reference:

https://news.windstream.com/news/news-details/2020/Windstream-Wholesale-and-Infinera-Mark-Industry-First-with-Successful-Trial-of-LR8-Based-400GbE-Client-Side-Services/default.aspx

Cignal AI: North American Optical Sales Rebound In 2019

Long Haul WDM Spending Reaches Record Levels:

Recent optical equipment sales in North America were encouraging – up more than 25% for 4Q19 and 10% for all of 2019 according to the most recent Transport Hardware Report from research firm Cignal AI.

The North American packet market for Access and Aggregation routing devices also grew strongly in the fourth quarter as demand for Edge and Core switching and routing dropped off dramatically. 5G and other access rollouts boosted growth in the Access and Aggregation market segment.
“After three years of North American spending declines as operators focused capex on wireless and access, optical hardware sales for the region revived and grew at a healthy pace for 2019, while packet hardware sales remained flat,” said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Analyst at Cignal AI. “Market leaders Ciena, Infinera, and Cisco all achieved optical sales growth of more than 25% in 2019.”
2019 NA Transport Hardware Growth
Cignal AI’s Transport Hardware Report is issued each quarter and examines optical and packet transport equipment revenue across all regions and equipment types. The analysis is based on financial results, independent research, and guidance from individual equipment companies. Forecasts are based on expected spending trends for equipment types within the regions.

Additional 4Q19 Transport Hardware Report Findings:

  • Long haul optical spending reached record levels in 2019. Growth slowed in 4Q19 but the segment finished the year up over 10%.
  • Transport equipment sales in China declined slightly in 4Q19 as packet sales declined and optical sales growth cooled to single digits. When adjusted for the influence of ZTE’s shutdown in 2Q18, optical hardware sales grew less than 10% in 2019.
  • Japan ended an extraordinary year of optical sales growth up 25% in Q4 and almost 40% in 2019.

Transport Hardware Superdashboard:

Cignal AI’s Transport Hardware Superdashboard is available to clients of the report and provides up-to-date market data and real-time visibility on the hardware market, including individual vendors’ results as they are released. Users can manipulate variables online and see information in a variety of useful ways.

About the Transport Hardware Report

The Cignal AI Transport Hardware Report is published quarterly and includes market share and forecasts for optical and packet transport hardware used in service provider networks worldwide. In addition to the interactive Superdashboard, analysis includes a detailed Excel database as well as PDF and PowerPoint summaries. Subscribers to the Transport Hardware Report also have access to Active Insight, Cignal AI’s real-time news service on current market events.
The report examines revenue for metro WDM, long-haul WDM and submarine (SLTE) optical equipment, and access, aggregation, edge, and core packet equipment in six global regions. Vendors in the report include Adtran, ADVA, Ciena, Cisco, ECI, Ekinops, Fiberhome, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, Juniper, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Nokia, Padtec, Tejas, Xtera, and ZTE. A full report description, as well as articles and presentations, are available on the Cignal AI website.

About Cignal AI:

Cignal AI provides active and insightful market research for the networking component and equipment market and the market’s end customers. Our work blends expertise from a variety of disciplines to create a uniquely informed perspective on the evolution of networking communications.

Contact Cignal AI/Purchase Report:

Sales: sales@cignal.ai
Web: Contact us

CoBank: Secular Tailwinds Support Current Fiber Optic Company Valuations

Fiber network consolidation has driven up the value of fiber optic networks for strategic buyers and infrastructure funds, says rural communications infrastructure financing company CoBank in a new report. As CoBank notes, the number of fiber networks available for acquisition has declined, causing the report authors to speculate that investors will turn their attention next to regional cable operators and potentially to rural local exchange carriers (RLECs).

Driving fiber consolidation and fiber network values is Americans’ growing demand for bandwidth, the report states. The authors cite research from Deloitte that forecasts the need for an estimated $130 billion to $150 billion in fiber infrastructure investment over the next five to seven years. Key demand drivers include broadband competition, rural coverage and wireless densification.

Building fiber networks takes a long time and as operators race to meet the expected surge in demand, a build/lease hybrid model will likely continue to play out over the next several years. Institutional investor interest in the fiber market should continue given the underlying demand drivers and predictable revenue streams these networks offer.

Given the relatively high entry barriers in the fiber market and consumers’ insatiable demand for data, there do not appear to be many glaring risks to fiber valuations. Oversupply is the most obvious one, but this is more region-specific than any kind of systemic risk, particularly given the proliferation of data usage.

Considering the amount of industry consolidation and scarcity of acquisition candidates, fiber-rich cable operators could become attractive assets for both institutional investors and strategic buyers. All of these factors paint a positive picture for future fiber valuations.

According to CoBank, fiber valuations have increased approximately 30% over the last 12 months, and some buyers have paid multiples above 20 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

The authors caution that “there is clearly a disconnect between public (e.g. fiber operator Zayo) and private fiber valuations.” The report attributes this disparity to “volatility in equity markets and waning investor confidence that have resulted in public valuations coming in much lower than private valuations.”

CoBank doesn’t see lower public company valuations negatively impacting those of private companies, however.

“Infrastructure funds have a much longer time horizon, and strategic buyers enjoy synergies that will allow them to pay a higher multiple versus myopically focused public equity investors,” the authors wrote.

Fiber Network Consolidation
The CoBank report references several key fiber network acquisitions by strategic buyers and foreign infrastructure funds, including:

  • Macquarie Infrastructure’s plan to purchase Bluebird Network in conjunction with Uniti Group
  • European-based EQT purchasing a majority stake in Spirit Communications and EQT’s plan to combine those operations with Lumos
  • Antin Infrastructure Partners purchase of FirstLight Fiber
  • Crown Castle’s purchase of Lightower, Wilcon Holdings and Fibernet Holdings

With so many deals in the rear-view mirror, CoBank noted that FiberLight, which has 14,000 route miles of fiber, is one of few remaining privately held fiber network operators that has yet to be acquired.

As a result, CoBank argues that strategic buyers and infrastructure funds are likely to begin taking a closer look at those regional cable operators that have been investing in fiber and at “progressive RLECs” that have been investing in fiber to offset their declining regulated revenues.

Although CoBank didn’t specifically identify the category, it would seem that statewide and regional fiber networks owned by RLEC consortia might be a particularly attractive category for such investors.

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References:

https://www.cobank.com/-/media/files/ked/communications/fiber-valuations-feb2019.pdf?la=en&hash=C8515454954DCF5FE00D3C231E80AC59BF7C9BDF

https://www.cobank.com/knowledge-exchange/communications/fiber-valuations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDqOw3jfsMshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDqOw3jfsMs

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LightCounting: Optical Transceiver Sales Increased in 2Q-2018 despite ZTE shutdown

Sales of optical transceivers rose sequentially and held their own year-on-year, according to LightCounting. The market research firm’s “September 2018 Quarterly Market Update Report” states that strong demand for Ethernet optics for data center and enterprise applications, as well as improvements in worldwide wireless front haul and FTTx optics interest, provided a boost for fiber optic transceiver sales in 2Q-2018.  That’s despite demand for DWDM transceivers hit a multiyear low due to the temporary shutdown of Chinese vendor ZTE.

LightCounting reported that shipments of 100GbE SR4 and CWDM4 modules in the first half of the year exceeded their expectations. The opposite was true of all other 100GbE transceivers, with several suppliers citing excess inventory at Amazon as a drag on 100GbE PSM4 sales. However, demand for 10GbE transceivers was very strong in the first six months of this year; unit shipments grew by more than 20%, according to the new report. The majority of these modules went to applications in enterprise networks. Cisco reported a 42% increase in the number of 10GbE ports shipped into this market in 1H18. And even 1GbE transceiver sales grew slightly in Q2 2018, LightCounting added.

LightCounting Global sales of optical transceivers 1Q16 to 2Q18

                                                                                Sales of optical transceivers picked up sequentially during the second quarter of 2018. (Source: LightCounting)

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Looking at the market from a fiber optic transceiver customer perspective, Internet Content Providers (ICPs) spent 80% more on their  optical infrastructures in the first half of 2018 than during the same time in 2017. Communications Service Providers (CSPs) also increased their spending during this year’s first half versus 2017, although by only 2.6%.

The LightCounting 2Q-2018 report was more positive than either IHS-Markit or Cignal AI which both found the optical hardware market struggling in this year’s second quarter.  

Looking ahead, LightCounting expects DWDM module sales to pick up now that ZTE is back in business. The company cited the fact that Acacia Communications executives anticipate a nearly 40% sequential increase in third quarter 2018 sales, with ZTE responsible for 60% of that.

The new “Quarterly Market Update” includes data and commentary on the Q2 2018 financial results of CSPs, ICPs, networking hardware, optical components, modules, and semiconductor chip makers. It also includes shipment data through Q2 2018 for more than 100 optical transceiver and wavelength selective switch (WSS) products.

LightCounting Contact Info:  Tel: 408.962.4851        Email: info@lightcounting.com

Press Release for this report:  https://www.lightcounting.com/News_091818.cfm