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Silicon Photonics

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Lumentum on ROADM growth, ZR+, and 800G

CTO interview: Brandon Collings

  • The ROADM market is experiencing a period of sustained growth  
  • The Open ROADM MSA continues to advance and expand its scope
  • ZR+ coherent modules will support some interoperability to avoid becoming siloed but optical performance differentiation remains key 


Source: Lumentum

Brandon Collings gave a Market Focus talk at the recent ECOC show in Dublin, where he explained why it is a good time to be in the reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) business. 

“Quantities are growing substantially and it is not one reason but a multitude of reasons,” says Collings. The CTO of Lumentum reckons the growth started some 18-24 months ago.  

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Gazettabyte’s 10th anniversary 

Gazettabytes 10th anniversary passed quietly sometime in August. 

The work to create the website started earlier, as did the writing of the first stories to ensure there was content when the site went live in August 2009.

Gazettabyte has since published hundreds of stories and articles covering emerging technologies in the telecom and datacom industries. 

The stories highlight the many changes that have taken place over the last decade.

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Open ROADM gets deployed as work starts on Release 6.0

AT&T has deployed Open ROADM technology in its network and says all future reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) deployments will be based on the standard. 

At this point, it is in a single metro and we are working on a second large metro area,” says John Paggi, assistant vice president member of technical staff, network infrastructure and services at AT&T. 


Shown are the various elements included in the disaggregated Open ROADM MSA. Also shown is the hierarchical SDN controller architecture with the federated controllers overseeing the optical layer and the multi-layer controller overseeing the path creation across the layer, from IP to optical. Source: Open ROADM MSA

Meanwhile, the Open ROADM multi-source agreement (MSA) continues to progress, with members working on Release 6.0 of the standard. 

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Infinera rethinks aggregation with slices of light 

An optical architecture for traffic aggregation that promises to deliver networking benefits and cost savings was unveiled by Infinera at this weeks ECOC show, held in Dublin.

Traffic aggregation is used widely in the network for applications such as fixed broadband, cellular networks, fibre-deep cable networks and business services. 

Dave Welch

Infinera has developed a class of optics, dubbed XR optics, that fits into pluggable modules for traffic aggregation. And while the company is focussing on network edge applications such as 5G, the technology could be used in thedata centre. 

Optics is inherently a point-to-point communications technology. Yet optics is applied to traffic aggregation, a point-to-multipoint architectureresulting in inefficiencies, says Infinera.  

The breakthrough here is that, for the first time in opticshistory, we have been able to make optics work to match the needs of an aggregation network,” says Dave Welch, founder and chief innovation officer at Infinera. 

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Acacia heralds the era of terabit-plus optical channels 

Acacia Communications has unveiled the AC1200-SC2 that delivers 1.2 terabits over a single optical channel. 

The SC2 (single carrier, single chip) is an upgrade of Acacia’s high-end AC1200 module. The AC1200 too is a 1.2-terabit module but uses two optical channels, each transmitting a 600-gigabit wavelength. The SC2 sends 1.2 terabits using two sub-carriers that fit within a single 150GHz-wide channel.

Each line is a data rate. Shown is the scope of how the baud rate and the modulation scheme can be varied and its impact on channel width, reach and data rate. Source: ADVA.

“In the SC2, we take care of everything so the user configures a single channel that is easier to manage in their network,” says Tom Williams, vice president of marketing at Acacia.

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Companies gear up to make 800 Gig modules a reality

Nine companies have established a multi-source agreement (MSA) to develop optical specifications for 800-gigabit pluggable modules.


Maxim Kuschnerov

The MSA has been created to address the continual demand for more networking capacity in the data centre, a need that is doubling roughly every two years. The largest switch chips deployed have a 12.8 terabit-per-second (Tbps) switching capacity while 25.6-terabit and 51-terabit devices are in development. 

“The MSA members believe that for 25.6Tbps and 51.2Tbps switching silicon, 800-gigabit interconnects are required to deliver the required footprint and density,” says Maxim Kuschnerov, a spokesperson for the 800G Pluggable MSA.

A 1-rack-unit (1RU) 25.6-terabit switch platform will use 32 such 800-gigabit modules while a 51.2-terabit 2RU platform will require 64.

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Ayar Labs and Intel add optical input-output to an FPGA 

Start-up Ayar Labs, working with Intel, has interfaced its TeraPHY optical chiplet to the chip giant’s Stratix10 FPGA.

Hugo SalehIntel has teamed with several partners in addition to Ayar Labs for its FPGA-based silicon-in-package design, part of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) project.  

Ayar Labs used the Hot Chips conference, held in Palo Alto, California in August, to detail its first TeraPHY chiplet product and its interface to the high-end FPGA.  


Ayar Labs was established to commercialise research that originated at MIT. The MIT team worked on integrating both photonics and electronics on a single die without changing the CMOS process.

The start-up has developed such building-block optical components in CMOS as a vertical coupler grating and a micro-ring resonator for modulation, while the electronic circuitry can be used to control and stabilise the ring resonators operation.  

Ayar Labs has also developed an external laser source that provides an external light source that can power up to 256 optical channels, each operating at either 16 to 32 gigabits-per-second (Gbps).

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