Seeing is believing: OIF’s largest 400ZR+ interop demo took center stage at OFC

At OFC 2024, the Adtran FSP 3000 open line system enabled a 400Gbit/s OpenZR+ 0dBm interoperability showcase over a 1,000km link. Let’s explore how the successful demo sets new standards for high-performance open optical networking.
San Diego

The significance of open optical networking has steadily grown. The accelerating adoption of IP over DWDM (IPoWDM) solutions with an ever-increasing suite of coherent pluggable optics is sound proof of this unstoppable trend. Open optical line systems play a key role in enabling successful IPoWDM deployments. Among other benefits, they enable a flexible network infrastructure that can quickly adopt the latest innovation in transponder technology anytime and from the vendor of choice, without troublesome lock-ins. This vendor flexibility is especially important in times of supply chain problems like we experienced recently. But even when the supply chain is not constrained, operators still prefer the freedom to choose their vendors rather than be locked to a single supplier.

Navigating multi-vendor network complexities

Multi-vendor, disaggregated networks come with their own set of challenges, with ensuring compatibility between all network elements being a major hurdle. Standardization and vendor-neutral interoperability tests are crucial to overcoming these obstacles. Without cooperation across the industry, this concept will not work. Although implementing these multi-vendor interoperability tests requires substantial investments of time, resources and money by both vendors and organizations, these efforts are essential. They not only demonstrate interoperability but also drive the evolution of equipment, standards and multi-source agreements (MSAs).

Organized by the OIF and featuring 47 member companies, the most extensive multi-vendor interoperability demo to date took place at the latest OFC conference in San Diego. Adtran’s FSP 3000 open line system (OLS) played a fundamental role in the demo, showcasing the delivery of 400Gbit/s OpenZR+ 0dBm wavelengths from different suppliers across a multi-span 1,000km link. Not only was it the demo with the most participants, but it also featured the longest link used to date. The OIF chose this distance based on the needs of a major hyperscaler, challenging the Adtran FSP 3000 OLS to demonstrate that it could manage such an extensive link. 

Did it succeed? You bet!

Openness isn’t just a feature of our products, it’s ingrained in our DNA.
A milestone in open optical networking and multi-vendor interoperability 

Adtran’s FSP 3000 setup configuration provided an open optical layer with programmable interfaces that enabled the high-performance transmission of 400Gbit/s OpenZR+ 0dBm wavelengths over 1,000km. The FSP 3000 OLS comprised nine (!) nodes: two terminal nodes with high-resolution flexgrid ROADMs, six inline amplifier nodes using compact amplifier modules integrating EDFA and Raman amplification, and an intermediate site for power equalization. It’s not difficult to imagine the effort and cost this demo involved, but it was worth it. Its success marked a significant milestone and highlighted the commitment of Adtran and the OIF community to driving the evolution of ZR and ZR+ optics-based open optical networking solutions.

The speed with which the configuration and setup of the demo were carried out is also remarkable and shows the openness and ease of use of the FSP 3000 OLS. The system doesn’t impose restrictions or constraints in configuring and provisioning alien wavelengths. Also, the availability of automated procedures for the optimal adjustment of amplifier settings, such as gain, tilt and output power levels, at all network nodes played a critical role. These automated adjustments, along with spectral optimization at ROADM nodes, were essential for ensuring a smooth and rapid setup, and to facilitate the best transmission performance. 

Long-standing commitment to multi-vendor cooperation

At OFC 2023, Adtran’s FSP 3000 OLS participated in demos that highlighted the OIF’s work on 400ZR interoperability over a 75km single-span link. Later in the year, at ECOC 2023, the FSP 3000 OLS was showcased again, this time demonstrating 400ZR+ interoperability across a multi-span 400km link. At this year’s OFC 2024, the capabilities of the FSP 3000 OLS were further extended to an impressive 1,000km. Adtran has a long-standing commitment to multivendor cooperation, consistently supporting our customers with genuinely open optical networking solutions. Openness isn’t just a feature of our products, it’s ingrained in our DNA and will continue to define our approach.

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