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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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Thursday
Jun222017

The OIF’s 400ZR coherent interface starts to take shape

Part 2: Coherent developments

The Optical Internetworking Forum’s (OIF) group tasked with developing two styles of 400-gigabit coherent interface is now concentrating its efforts on one of the two.

When first announced last November, the 400ZR project planned to define a dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) 400-gigabit interface and a single wavelength one. Now the work is concentrating on the DWDM interface, with the single-channel interface deemed secondary. 

Karl Gass"It [the single channel] appears to be a very small percentage of what the fielded units would be,” says Karl Gass of Qorvo and the OIF Physical and Link Layer working group vice chair, optical, the group responsible for the 400ZR work.

The likelihood is that the resulting optical module will serve both applications. “Realistically, probably both [interfaces] will use a tunable laser because the goal is to have the same hardware,” says Gass.   

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Tuesday
Jun202017

Coherent optics players target the network edge for growth

Part 1: Coherent developments

The market for optical links for reaches between 10km and 120km is emerging as a fierce battleground between proponents of coherent and direct-detection technologies. 

Interest in higher data rates such as 400 gigabits is pushing coherent-based optical transmission from its traditional long-distance berth to shorter-reach applications. “That tends to be where the growth for coherent has come from as it has migrated from long-haul to metro,” says Tom Williams, senior director of marketing at Acacia Communications, a coherent technology supplier. 

 

Source: Acacia Communications, Gazettabyte

Williams points to the Optical Internetworking Forum’s (OIF) ongoing work to develop a 400-gigabit link for data centre interconnect. Dubbed 400ZR, the project is specifying an interoperable coherent interface that will support dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) links for distances of at least 80km.

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Wednesday
Jun142017

Infinera unveils its next-gen packet-optical platforms 

  • Infinera has announced its first major metro product upgrade since it acquired Transmode in 2015.
  • The XTM II platforms use CFP2-DCO pluggable modules for the line-side optics, not Infinera’s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology.
  • Infinera’s XTM II achieves new levels of power efficiency by adopting CFP2-DCO pluggables and a distributed switch architecture.
  •  

    Source: Infinera

    Infinera has unveiled its latest metro products that support up to 200-gigabit wavelengths using CFP2-DCO pluggable modules.

    The XTM II platform family is designed to support growing metro traffic, low-latency services and the trend to move sophisticated equipment towards the network edge. Placing computing, storage and even switching near the network edge contrasts with the classical approach of backhauling traffic, sometimes deep within the network.

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