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Friday
Oct202017

The many paths to 400 gigabits

The race is on to deliver 400-gigabit optical interfaces in time for the next-generation of data centre switches expected in late 2018.

The industry largely agrees that a four-wavelength 400-gigabit optical interface is most desirable yet alternative designs are also being developed.

Optical module makers must consider such factors as technical risk, time-to-market and cost when choosing which design to back.

Rafik Ward, FinisarUntil now, the industry has sought a consensus on interfaces, making use of such standards bodies as the IEEE to serve the telecom operators.

Now, the volumes of modules used by the internet giants are such that they dictate their own solutions. And the business case for module makers is sufficiently attractive that they are willing to comply.

Another challenge at 400 gigabits is that there is no consensus regarding what pluggable form factor to use. 

“There is probably more technical risk in 400 gigabits than any of the historical data-rate jumps we have seen,” says Rafik Ward, vice president of marketing at Finisar.

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Tuesday
Oct102017

Acacia announces a 1.2 terabit coherent module

Acacia Communications has given first details of its AC1200 coherent optical module, capable of transmitting up to 1.2 terabits of data. The custom coherent transceiver is being aimed at applications ranging from linking data centres to long-haul and even sub-sea transmissions and was announced at the recent ECOC show held in Gothenburg.

Channel capacity and link margin can be maximised by using the fractional QAM scheme. Source: Acacia.

The company is facing increasing market competition. Ciena has teamed up with Lumentum, NeoPhotonics, and Oclaro, sharing its high-end coherent DSP expertise with the three optical module makers. Meanwhile, Inphi has started sampling its 16nm CMOS M200, a 100- and 200-gigabit coherent DSP suitable for CFP2-ACO, CFP-DCO, and CFP2-DCO module designs.

The AC1200 is Acacia’s response, extending its high-end module offering beyond a terabit to compete with the in-house system vendors and preserve its performance lead against the optical module makers.

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Monday
Oct092017

Oclaro’s 400-gigabit plans

Adam Carter, Oclaro’s chief commercial officer, discusses the company’s 400-gigabit and higher-speed coherent optical transmission plans and the 400-gigabit client-side pluggable opportunity.    

Oclaro showcased its first coherent module that uses Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai digital signal processor at the ECOC show held recently in Gothenburg.

Adam CarterOclaro is one of three optical module makers, the others being Lumentum and NeoPhotonics, that signed an agreement with Ciena earlier this year to use the system vendor’s DSP technology and know-how to bring coherent modules to market. The first product resulting from the collaboration is a 5x7-inch board-mounted module that supports 400-gigabits on a single-wavelength.   

The first WaveLogic Ai-based modules are already being tested at several of Oclaro’s customers’ labs. “They [the module samples] are very preliminary,” says Adam Carter, the chief commercial officer at Oclaro. “The really important timeframe is when we get towards the new year because then we will have beta samples.”

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Wednesday
Oct042017

Sckipio’s G.fast silicon to enable gigabit services  

Sckipio’s newest G.fast broadband chipset family delivers 1.2 gigabits of aggregate bandwidth over 100m of telephone wire.

The start-up’s SCK-23000 chipset family implements the ITU’s G.fast Amendment 3 212a profile. The profile doubles the spectrum used from G.fast from 106MHz to 212MHz, boosting the broadband rates. In contrast, VDSL2 digital subscriber line technology uses 17MHz of spectrum only.

“What the telcos want is gigabit services,” says Michael Weissman, vice president of marketing at Sckipio. “This second-generation [chipset family] allows that.”

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Monday
Sep252017

The CWDM8 MSA avoids PAM-4 to fast-track 400G  

Another multi-source agreement (MSA) group has been created to speed up the market introduction of 400-gigabit client-side optical interfaces.

The CWDM8 MSA is described by its founding members as a pragmatic approach to provide 400-gigabit modules in time for the emergence of next-generation switches next year. The CWDM8 MSA was announced at the ECOC show held in Gothenburg last week.

Robert BlumThe eight-wavelength coarse wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM) MSA is being promoted as a low-cost alternative to the IEEE 803.3bs 400 Gigabit Ethernet Task Force’s 400-gigabit eight-wavelength specifications, and less risky than the newly launched 100G Lambda MSA specifications based on four 100-gigabit wavelengths for 400 gigabit.

“The 100G Lambda has merits and we are also part of that MSA,” says Robert Blum, director of strategic marketing and business development at Intel’s silicon photonics product division. “We just feel the time to get to 100-gigabit-per-lambda is really when you get to 800 Gigabit Ethernet.”

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Sunday
Sep242017

MultiPhy unveils 100G single-wavelength PAM-4 chip

A chip to enable 100-gigabit single-wavelength client-side optical modules has been unveiled by MultiPhy. The 100-gigabit 4-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4) circuit will also be a key building block for 400 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces that use four wavelengths.

Source: MultiPhy

Dubbed the MPF3101, the 100-gigabit physical layer (PHY) chip is aimed at such applications as connecting switches within data centres and for 5G cloud radio access network (CRAN).

“The chip has already been sent out to customers and we are heading towards market introductions,” says Avi Shabtai, CEO of MultiPhy.

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Friday
Sep152017

Has coherent optical transmission run its course?

Feature: Coherent's future

Three optical systems vendors share their thoughts about coherent technology and the scope for further improvement as they look two generations ahead to symbol rates approaching 100 gigabaud   

Optical transmission using coherent detection has made huge strides in the last decade. The latest coherent technology with transmitter-based digital signal processing delivers 25x the capacity-reach of 10-gigabit wavelengths using direct-detection, according to Infinera.

Since early 2016, the optical systems vendors Infinera, Ciena and Nokia have all announced new coherent digital signal processor (DSP) designs. Each new generation of coherent DSP improves the capacity that can be transmitted over an optical link. But given the effectiveness of the latest coherent systems, has most of the benefits already been achieved?

 

Source: Infinera

“It is getting harder and harder,” admits Kim Roberts, vice president, WaveLogic science at Ciena. “Unlike 10 years ago, there are no factors of 10 available for improvement.”

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