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Silicon Photonics

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Infinera’s ICE flow

Infinera’s newest Infinite Capacity Engine 5 (ICE5) doubles capacity to 2.4 terabits. The ICE, which comprises a coherent DSP and a photonic integrated circuit (PIC), is being demonstrated this week at the OFC show being held in San Diego. 

Infinera has also detailed its ICE6, being developed in tandem with the ICE5. The two designs represent a fork in Infinera’s coherent engine roadmap in terms of the end markets they will address.

Geoff BennettThe ICE5 is targeted at data centre interconnect and applications where fibre in being added towards the network edge. The next-generation access network of cable operators is one such example. Another is mobile operators deploying fibre in preparation for 5G.

First platforms using the ICE5 will be unveiled later this year and will ship early next year.

Infinera’s ICE6 is set to appear two years after the ICE5. Like the ICE4, Infinera’s current Infinite Capacity Engine, the ICE6 will be used across all of Infinera’s product portfolio.

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Rockley Photonics showcases its in-packaged design at OFC  

Rockley Photonics has showcased its in-packaged optics design to select customers and development partners at the OFC show being held in San Diego this week.

The packaged design includes Rockley's own 2 billion transistor layer 3 router chip, and its silicon photonics-based optical transceivers. The layer 3 router chip, described as a terabit device, also includes mixed-signal circuits needed for the optical transceevers' transmit and receive paths.

 Source: Rockley Photonics (annotated by Gazettabyte).Rockley says it is using 500m-reach PSM4 transceivers for the design and that while a dozen ribbon cables are shown, this does not mean there are 12 100-gigabit PSM4 transceivers. The company is not saying what the total optical input-output is. 

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DustPhotonics reveals its optical transceiver play

A start-up that has been active for a year has dropped its state of secrecy to reveal it is already shipping its first optical transceiver product.

The company, DustPhotonics, is backed by private investors and recently received an undisclosed round of funding that will secure the company’s future for the next two years.  


Product plans

DustPhotonics' first product is the multi-mode 100m-reach 100GBASE-SR4 QSFP28. The company will launch its first 400-gigabit optical modules later this year. 

Ben Rubovitch

“We probably are going to be one of the first to market with [400-gigabit] QSFP-DD and OSFP multi-mode solutions,” says Ben Rubovitch, CEO of DustPhotonics.

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Lumentum jolts the industry with Oclaro acquisition 

Lumentum announced on Monday its plan to acquire Oclaro in a deal worth $1.8 billion.

The prospect of consolidation among optical component players has long been mooted yet the announcement provided the first big news jolt at the OFC show, being held in San Diego this week. 

Alan Lowe“Combined, we will be an industry leader in telecom transmission and transport as well as 3D sensing,” said Alan Lowe, president and CEO of Lumentum, on an analyst call discussing the deal.

Lumentum says their joint revenues totalled $1.7 billion with a 39% gross margin over the last year. And $60 million in synergies are forecast in the second year after the deal closes, which is expected to happen later this year. 

The $1.8 billion acquisition will comprise 56 percent cash and 44 percent Lumentum stock. Lumentum will also raise $550 million to help finance the deal.

“This is a big deal as it consolidates the telecom part of the component market,” says Daryl Inniss, business development manager at OFS Fitel and former market research analyst.

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Coherent gets a boost with probabilistic shaping

Nokia has detailed its next-generation PSE-3 digital signal processor (DSP) family for coherent optical transmission.

The PSE-3s is the industry’s first announced coherent DSP that supports probabilistic constellation shaping, claims Nokia.

Probabilistic shaping is the latest in a series of techniques adopted to improve coherent optical transmission performance. These techniques include higher-order modulation, soft-decision forward error correction (SD-FEC), multi-dimensional coding, Nyquist filtering and higher baud rates.

Kyle Hollasch

“There is an element here that the last big gains have now been had,” says Kyle Hollasch, director of product marketing for optical networks at Nokia.

Probabilistic shaping is a signal-processing technique that squeezes the last bit of capacity out of a fibre’s spectrum, approaching what is known as the non-linear Shannon Limit.

“We are not saying we absolutely hit the Shannon Limit but we are extremely close: tenths of a decibel whereas most modern systems are a couple of decibels away from the theoretical maximum,” says Hollasch.

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Rockley Photonics eyes multiple markets

Andrew Rickman, founder and CEO of silicon photonics start-up, Rockley Photonics, discusses the new joint venture with Hengtong Optic-Electric, the benefits of the company’s micron-wide optical waveguides and why the timing is right for silicon photonics. 

Andrew Rickman

The joint venture between Rockley Photonics and Chinese firm Hengtong Optic-Electric is the first announced example of Rockley’s business branching out.

The start-up’s focus has been to apply its silicon photonics know-how to data-centre applications. In particular, Rockley has developed an Opto-ASIC package that combines optical transceiver technology with its own switch chip design. Now it is using the transceiver technology for its joint venture.

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Verizon, Ciena and Juniper trial 400 Gigabit Ethernet 

Verizon has sent a 400 Gigabit Ethernet signal over its network, carried using a 400-gigabit optical wavelength.

The trial’s goal was to demonstrate multi-vendor interoperability and in particular the interoperability of standardised 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) client signals.

Glenn Wellbrock“[400GbE] Interoperability with the client side has been the long pole in the tent - and continues to be,” says Glenn Wellbrock, director, optical transport network - architecture, design and planning at Verizon. “This was trial equipment, not generally-available equipment.” 

It is only the emergence of standardised modules - in this case, an IEEE 400GbE client-side interface specification - that allows multi-vendor interoperability, he says. 

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