The Consortium for On-board Optics (COBO) is on target to complete its specifications work by the year end. The work will then enter a final approval stage that will take up to a further three months.
On-board optics, also known as mid-board or embedded optics, have been available for years but vendors have so far had to use custom products. The goal of COBO, first announced in March 2015 and backed by such companies as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Finisar and Intel, is to develop a technology roadmap and common specifications for on-board optics to ensure interoperability.
Brad Booth (pictured), the chair of COBO and principal architect for Microsoft’s Azure Global Networking Services, says that bringing optics inside systems raises a different set of issues compared to pluggable optical modules used on the front panel of equipment. “If you have a requirement for 32-ports on a faceplate, you know mechanically what you can build,” says Booth.