When we started design of the first coherent MIC for the MX family, the MIC3-100G-DWDM, flexibility was a top priority. Considering there are roughly 50,000 MX chassis deployed in the field today, suffice it to say we expected quite a variety of potential use cases.
Declaring any product "one size fits all" usually is an oxymoron. Perhaps a better analogy here is the venerable Swiss Army Knife: lots of great tools packed into one convenient package. Let's take a look at some of those tools:
The coherent DWDM MIC is supported on five different MX chassis today:
MX960, MX480 and MX240
MX2020 and MX2010
On each of these chassis this MIC can be paired with MPC3E, MPC3E-NG and MPC3E-NG-Q.
Network applications are as varied as the operators that deploy them. Having said that, we can divide them in three broad classes:
'Colored' DWDM - Conventional networks using fixed AWG-based optical mux/demux elements are the most common line systems deployed today. To support multiple spans over extended reaches, cascaded amplifiers are used to achieve metro and long-haul distances. To make the most of expensive transport routes, the MIC3-100G-DWDM supports a wide 96 channel tuning range for full support of the extended C-band.
'Colorless' DWDM - When fixed filters are removed from the line system and replaced with passive couplers additional features are needed. Fortunately, this MIC supports extended functions such as per-wavelength power monitoring, 8dB of output power tuning and a wide input power range - all very handy for colorless applications.
Dark Fiber - For unamplified spans it's all about attenuation. With a solid 30.5dB link loss budget, unamplified spans of 0-100+km can be supported. Robust TX output power and high RX sensitivity make this possible.
Long Haul - Often the most challenging application, this MIC has you covered with noise & chromatic dispersion tolerance for OSNR and/or dispersion-limited reaches up to 2,000km.
Metro - In addition to long-haul capabilities, the DSP, SDFEC and flexible optical front-end capabilities provide the robustness and RX sensitivity necessary to handle the sometimes-sketchy nature variable metro fiber plants.
DCI - For shorter reach applications, such as Data Center Interconnect (DCI), the MIC has you covered with an impressive link loss budget to handle large optical attenuation. Passive losses from patch panels, mux/demuxes and fiber loss do not automatically require amplification.
As is always the case for transport, your mileage may vary - always do you homework when planning your links!
Traditionally, transport links have been "bookended" - that is to say the same equipment is used at both ends of the link. However, as coherent interfaces become more ubiquitous and are no longer limited to transport boxes, network operators have more options. To enable multi-platform, heterogeneous deployments, the MIC supports the direct interop with following:
PTX 5x100G DWDM PIC - This forthcoming card announced at OFC supports full performance utilizing SDFEC for direct PTX-MX interop up to 2,000km
CFP-100GBASE-ZR - For shorter, single-wavelength spans the MX MIC can be tuned to the same wavelength as the ZR-CFP to enable lower-cost interop with MX and PTX
3rd Party Interfaces - Here's where things get really interesting. Thanks to a DP-QPSK optical front end, standardized OTU4 framing and the widely-deployed staircase FEC (aka 'HGFEC') multi-vendor coherent interop is now a reality. What if the other vendor doesn't support HGFEC? GFEC is another lower-performance, but standardized, alternative.
The coherent MIC is the first Juniper interface to incorporate CFP2-ACO optics. The advantages of pay-as-you grow flexibility, field servicability and the ability to multi-source optical modules is now an option for the first time.
As generations of Boy Scouts know, it's all about being prepared - and carrying a cool tool on your belt. When it comes to bringing optical transport to MX, chances are high that the MIC3-100G-DWDM has the right set of tools for whatever link you may encounter in the wild.