CenturyLink selects Infinera's DTN-X as one of its 100G platforms

Platform will help telco deliver 100 GigE services
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CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) on Tuesday named Infinera's (Nasdaq: INFN) DTN-X platform as one of its platforms for its recently announced 100G network deployment.

Deploying the DTN-X platform will help CenturyLink serve multiple purposes.

The telco will be able to upgrade its existing backbone transport network to support its mix of video and cloud-based services, while supporting 100 GigE services for data center transport and end-user business customers that are requesting larger Ethernet pipes.

Two of the capabilities that will come in handy for CenturyLink are the DTN-X platform's ability to deliver 500 Gbps FlexCoherent superchannels and integrated 5 Tbps of OTN switching per chassis. Infinera claims these elements can reduce latency for mission critical services like business-grade Ethernet and lowering transport network costs.

Although Infinera has been working with CenturyLink via Qwest since 2004 for 10G, this win provides Tier 1 U.S. service provider validation for the DTN-X, a product it introduced last September. CenturyLink also works with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) for 100G.

In addition to CenturyLink, Infinera counts Telefonica International Wholesale Services (TIWS) (NYSE: TEF) as another Tier 1 European customer. Last September, the service provider deployed the DTN-X for its SAm-1 submarine Cable Network.

CenturyLink is already in the process of deploying the DTN-X on its optical backbone network using the 500G superchannels.

It also comes at a time when there's fierce competition in the 100G optical market. Already, a number of Infinera's competitors, namely Alcatel-Lucent and Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN), have been aggressively racking up a growing base of Tier 1 100G customers such as Sprint (NYSE: S) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).

"Everyone knows the general story about our journey with the DTN serving the 10G market and later the DTN-X for 100G," said Mark Showalter, senior director for marketing at Infinera, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "With this optical reboot to the 100 Gig marketplace, the DTN-X was pretty much designed for Tier 1 operators rolling out 100 Gig core networks on their optical backbones, and this announcement today is sort of a validation of the crowning point of this journey."

Showalter added that over the past few earnings calls that "we said we had been doing work with a North American Tier 1 carrier and doing OSMINE, the certification of the operational support systems and the integration with our network elements."

But the real indication of their Tier 1 movement came in third quarter this year. During their Q3 2012 earnings call, Tom Fallon, Infinera's CEO, said that they would announce a major Tier 1 U.S. carrier customer before the end of the year.

Infinera reported in its Q3 2012 earnings that the DTN-X was becoming a larger part of its overall revenue mix. At that time, they "had 16 purchase commitments, representing five new customers and 11 existing customers."

For more:
- see the release

Special report: Wireline telecom earnings in the third quarter

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