Ciena nearly doubles 800G shipments in its fiscal Q2

800G Ciena
Ciena executives also said it expects to see initial deployments of its forthcoming ZR pluggable in 2021. (Ciena)

Ciena executives talked up the company’s competitive position on 800G as it posted results for its fiscal Q2 2021 (ended May 1), arguing it has already secured many key customers in the market.

The company added 16 new design wins for its 800G-enabled WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optical solution in the quarter, raising its total customer count to 95. During an earnings call, CFO James Moylan said Ciena has shipped 11,500 units of the product since the start of commercial shipments about a year ago, with 5,000 of those in the last quarter alone. He noted “that’s an accelerated pace of ramp” from its 400G solution and “it’s across all customer segments as well.”

Those figures compare to the more than 6,000 units shipped and 75 customers the company said it had in April.

Rival Infinera announced the start of commercial shipments of its own 800G solution last month. But Ciena CEO Gary Smith downplayed the potential competitive threat, stating “pretty much most of the primary landing slots on 800 gig are already taken with the head start that we’ve had.”

RELATED: Ciena touts 800G, preps ZR pluggable

Moylan also provided an update on Ciena's plans for a ZR pluggable, noting this was “now actively in certification in a number of customer labs” and it remains on track for general availability in mid-2021. He added it expects to see initial deployments later this year with “more significant" rollouts following in 2022.

Metrics and markets

Ciena’s revenue fell nearly 7% year on year to $833.9 million in the quarter, with net income of $103.1 million up 12% thanks to a $40.4 million boost from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

Its networking platforms business accounted for the bulk of revenue, bringing in $637.3 million, though this total was down year on year from $718.5 million. Platform Software and Services revenue grew 26% to $56.7 million, Blue Planet Automation Software and Services increased 59% to $23.9 million and Global Services was roughly flat at $116 million compared to $115.6 million in the year-ago period.

The Americas region generated 70% of revenue in the quarter, with Smith noting activity with tier-1 service providers in North America was increasing after a Covid-related slowdown. He also pointed to growing strength in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which accounted for nearly 19% of revenue.

In Europe and India, Smith said a desire to reduce reliance on Huawei products is expected to be a tailwind for the company and highlighted a recent ramp in action in the latter to address the issue.

“We’ve seen a lot of activity around the major carriers there wishing to decrease their dependency on Huawei," he said, adding the operators had issued RFPs and "we've won more than our fair share of those deals. They are being probably more aggressive than we’re seeing in other parts of the world…but that’s not yet on the scorecard because it hasn’t been deployed.”