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Tuesday
Aug082017

Heavy Reading’s take on optical module trends  

Part 1: Optical transceiver trends 

The industry knows what the next-generation 400-gigabit client-side interfaces will look like but uncertainty remains regarding what form factors to use. So says Simon Stanley who has just authored a report entitled: From 25/100G to 400/600G: A Competitive analysis of Optical Modules and Components.

Implementing the desired 400-gigabit module designs is also technically challenging, presenting 200-gigabit modules with a market opportunity should any slip occur at 400 gigabits.

 

Simon StanleyStanley, analyst-at-large at Heavy Reading and principal consultant at Earlswood Marketing, points to several notable developments that have taken place in the last year. For 400 gigabits, the first CFP8 modules are now available. There are also numerous suppliers of 100-gigabit QSFP28 modules for the CWDM4 and PSM4 multi-source agreements (MSAs). He also highlights the latest 100-gigabit SFP-DD MSA, and how coherent technology for line-side transmission continues to mature.

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Wednesday
Aug022017

Cavium broadens its Xpliant switch-chip offerings 

  • Two families of Xpliant switch chips have been unveiled: the XP60 with sub-terabit switching capacities and the mid-range XP70 devices with 1 to 1.8 terabits of capacity.
  • The switch ICs broaden the datacom and telecom markets Cavium can now address. 
  • Cavium is developing a next-generation high-end switch chip but the company is not saying when it will be announced. 

Cavium has broadened its portfolio of switch chips. The two families - the XP60 and the XP70 - have smaller switch capacities than Cavium’s XP80 Xpliant family and feature architectural enhancements.

“The new chips expand Cavium’s addressable markets to include enterprise and carrier-access networks as well as mainstream cloud data centres,” says Bob Wheeler, principal analyst for networking at The Linley Group.

John Harrsen

The switch chips enable Cavium to address 25-gigabit interface switches, power-constrained enclosure designs such as blade servers, and 5G cloud radio access networks (CRAN) and GPON aggregation.

Until now Cavium has offered three XP80 Xpliant switch ICs, the largest being a 3.2-terabits switch. In contrast, the three XP70 devices have switch capacities of 1, 1.4  and 1.8 terabits while the XP60’s three chips have 280, 560 and 720 gigabits of capacity.

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Friday
Jul282017

A quantum leap in fear

The advent of quantum computing poses a threat which could break open the security systems protecting the world’s financial data and transactions. 

Professor Michele Mosca

Protecting financial data has always been a cat-and-mouse game. What is different now is that the cat could be de-clawed. Quantum computing, a new form of computer processing, promises to break open the security systems that safeguard much of the world’s financial data and transactions.

Quantum computing is expected to be much more powerful than anything currently available because it does not rely on the binary digits 1 or 0 to represent data but exploits the fact that subatomic particles can exist in more than one state at once.

Experts cannot say with certainty when a fully-fledged quantum computer will exist but, once it does, public key encryption schemes in use today will be breakable. Quantum computer algorithms that can crack such schemes have already been put through their paces.

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Thursday
Jul202017

Elenion's coherent and fibre-to-the-server plans

  • Elenion’s coherent chip - an integrated modulator-receiver assembly - is now generally available. 
  • The company has a silicon photonics design library that includes over 1,000 elements. 
  • Elenion is also developing an optical engine for client-side interfaces.

Elenion Technologies has given an update on its activities and strategy after announcing itself eight months ago. The silicon photonics-based specialist is backed by private equity firm, Marlin Equity Partners, which also owns systems vendor, Coriant. Elenion had already been active for two and a half years and shipping product when it emerged from its state of secrecy last December

Larry SchwerinElenion has since announced it is selling its telecom product, a coherent transceiver PIC, to Coriant and now other companies.

It has also progressed its optical engine design for the data centre that will soon be a product. Elenion has been working with Ethernet switch chip maker, Cavium, and data centre player, Microsoft, as part of its datacom work.

“We have moved forward,” says Larry Schwerin, the CEO of Elenion.

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Friday
Jul142017

Silicon photonics: concerns but viable and still evolving  

Blaine Bateman set himself an ambitious goal when he started researching the topic of silicon photonics. The president of the management consultancy, EAF LLC, wanted to answer some key questions for a broad audience, not just academics and researchers developing silicon photonics but executives working in data centres, telecom and IT.

The result is a 192-page report entitled Silicon Photonics: Business Situation Report, 59 pages alone being references. In contrast to traditional market research reports, there is also no forecast or company profiles. 

Blaine Bateman's risk meter for silicon photonics. Eleven key elements needed to deploy a silicon photonics solution were considered. And these were assessed from the perspective of various communities involved or impacted by the technology, from silicon providers to cloud-computing users. Source: EAF LLC.

“I thought it would be helpful to give people a business view,” says Bateman.

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Wednesday
Jul052017

The era of cloud-scale routeing 

Nokia's FP4 p-chip. The multi-chip module shows five packages: the p-chip die surrounded by four memory stacks. Each stack has five memory die. The p-chip and memory stacks are interconnected using an interposer.
  • Nokia has unveiled the FP4, a 2.4 terabit-per-second network processor that has 6x the throughput of its existing FP3. 
  • The FP4 is a four-IC chipset implemented using 16nm CMOS FinFET technology. Two of the four devices in the chipset are multi-chip modules.
  • The FP4 uses 56 gigabit-per-second serial-deserialiser (serdes) technology from Broadcom, implemented using PAM-4 modulation. It also supports terabit flows.
  • Nokia announced IP edge and core router platforms that will use the FP4, the largest configuration being a 0.58 petabit switching capacity router. 

Much can happen in an internet minute. In that time, 4.1 million YouTube videos are viewed, compared to 2.8 million views a minute only last year. Meanwhile, new internet uses continue to emerge. Take voice-activated devices, for example. Amazon ships 50 of its Echo devices every minute, almost one a second.

Given all that happens each minute, predicting where the internet will be in a decade’s time is challenging. But that is the task Alcatel-Lucent’s (now Nokia’s) chip designers set themselves in 2011 after the launch of its FP3 network processor chipset that powers its IP-router platforms.

Six years on and its successor - the FP4 - has just been announced. The FP4 is the industry’s first multi-terabit network processor that will be the mainstay of Nokia’s IP router platforms for years to come.

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Wednesday
Jul052017

Meeting the many needs of data centre interconnect

High capacity. Density. Power efficiency. Client-side optical interface choices. Coherent transmission. Direct detection. Open line system. Just some of the requirements vendors must offer to compete in the data centre interconnect market.

“A key lesson learned from all our interactions over the years is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” says Jörg-Peter Elbers, senior vice president of advanced technology, standards and IPR at ADVA Optical Networking. “What is important is that you have a portfolio to give customers what they need.”

 Jörg-Peter Elbers

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