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OFC/NFOEC 2013 product round-up - Part 2

 Second and final part

  • Custom add/drop integrated platform and a dual 1x20 WSS module
  • Coherent receiver with integrated variable optical attenuator
  • 100/200 Gigabit coherent CFP and 100 Gigabit CFP2 roadmaps     
  • Mid-board parallel optics - from 150 to over 600 Gigabit.
  • 10 Gigabit EPON triplexer 


Add/drop platform and wavelength-selective switches

Oclaro announced an add/drop routing platform for next-generation reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs). The platform, which supports colourless, directionless, contentionless (CDC) and flexible grid ROADMs, can be tailored to a system vendor's requirements and includes such functions as cross-connect switching, arrayed amplifiers and optical channel monitors.


"If we make the whole thing [add/drop platform], we can integrate in a much better way"

Per Hansen, Oclaro




After working with system vendors on various line card designs, Oclaro realised there are significant benefits to engineering the complete design.

"You end up with a controller controlling other controllers, and boxes that get bolted on top of each other; a fairly unattractive solution," says Per Hansen, vice president of product marketing, optical networks solutions at Oclaro. "If we make the whole thing, we can integrate in a much better way."

The increasingly complex nature of the add/drop card is due to the dynamic features now required. "You have support for CDC and even flexible grid," says Hansen. "You want to have many more features so that you can control it remotely in software." 

A consequence of the add/drop's complexity and automation is a need for more amplifiers. "It is a sign that the optics is getting mature; you are integrating more functionality within your equipment and as you do that, you have losses and you need to put amplifiers into your circuits," says Hansen.

Oclaro continues to expand its amplifier component portfolio. At OFC/NFOEC, the company announced dual-chip uncooled pump lasers in the 10-pin butterfly package multi-source agreement (MSA) it announced at ECOC 2012.

"We have two 500mW uncooled pumps in a single package with two fibres, each pump being independently controlled," says Robert Blum, director of product marketing for Oclaro's photonic components unit. 

The package occupies half the space and consumes less than half the power compared to two standard discrete thermo-electrically cooled pumps. The dual-chip pump lasers will be available as samples in July 2013.

Oclaro gets requests to design 4- and 8-degree nodes; with four- and eight-degree signifying the number of fibre pairs emanating from a node.

"Depending on what features customers want in terms of amplifiers and optical channel monitors, we can design these all the way down to single-slot cards," says Hansen. Vendors can then upgrade their platforms with enhanced switching and flexibility while using the same form factor card.

Meanwhile, Finisar demonstrated at OFC/NFOEC a module containing two 1x20 liquid-crystal-on-silicon-based wavelength-selective switches (WSSes). The module supports CDC and flexible grid ROADMs. "This two-port module supports the next-generation route-and-select [ROADM] architecture; one [WSS] on the add side and one on the drop side," says Rafik Ward, vice president of marketing at Finisar.


100Gbps line side components

NeoPhotonics has added two products to its 100 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) coherent transport product line.

The first is an coherent receiver that integrates a variable optical attenuator (VOA). The VOA sits in front of the receiver to screen the dynamic range of the incoming signal. "This is even more important in coherent systems as coherent is different to direct detection in that you do not have to optically filter the channels coming in," says Ferris Lipscomb, vice president of marketing at NeoPhotonics.


"That is the power of photonic integration: you do a new chip with an extra feature and it goes in the same package."

Ferris Lipscomb, NeoPhotonics




In a traditional system, he says, a drop port goes through an arrayed waveguide grating which filters out the other channels. "But with coherent you can tune it like a heterodyne radio," says Lipscomb. "You have a local oscillator that you 'beat' against the signal so that the beat frequency for the channel you are tuned to will be within the bandwidth of the receiver but the beat frequency of the adjacent channel will be outside the bandwidth of the receiver."

It is possible to do colourless ROADM drops where many channels are dropped, and using the local oscillator, the channel of interest is selected. "This means that the power coming in can be more varied than in a traditional case," says Lipscomb, depending on how many other channels are present. Since there can be up to 80 channels falling on the detector, the VOA is needed to control the dynamic range of the signal to protect the receiver. 

"Because we use photonic integration to make our integrated coherent receiver, we can put the VOA directly on the chip," says Lipscomb. "That is the power of photonic integration: you do a new chip with an extra feature and it goes in the same package."

The VOA integrated coherent receiver is sampling and will be generally available in the third quarter of 2013.

NeoPhotonics also announced a narrow linewidth tunable laser for coherent systems in a micro integrated tunable laser assembly (micro-ITLA). This is the follow-on, more compact version of the Optical Internetworking Forum's (OIF) ITLA form factor for coherent designs.

While the device is sampling now, Lipscomb points out that is it for next-generation designs such that it is too early for any great demand.

Sumitomo Electric Industries and ClariPhy Communications demonstrated 100Gbps coherent CFP technology at OFC/NFOEC.

ClariPhy has implemented system-on-chip (SoC) analogue-to-digital (ADC) and digital-to-analogue (DAC) converter blocks in 28nm CMOS while Sumitomo has indium phosphide modulator and driver technology as well as an integrated coherent receiver, and an ITLA.

The SoC technology is able to support 100Gbps and 200Gbps using QPSK and 16-QAM formats. The companies say that their collaboration will result in a pluggable CFP module for 100Gbps coherent being available this year.  

Market research firm, Ovum, points out that the announcement marks a change in strategy for Sumitomo as it enters the long-distance transmission business.

In another development, Oclaro detailed integrated tunable transmitter and coherent receiver components that promise to enable 100 Gigabit coherent modules in the CFP2 form factor

The company has combined three functions within the transmitter. It has developed a monolithic tunable laser that does not require an external cavity. "The tunable laser has a high-enough output power that you can tap off a portion of the signal and use it as the local oscillator [for the receiver]," says Blum. Oclaro has also developed a discrete indium-phosphide modulator co-packaged with the laser.

The CFP2 100Gbps coherent pluggable module is likely to have a reach of 80-1,000km, suited to metro and metro regional networks.  It will also be used alongside next-generation digital signal processing (DSP) ASICs that will use a more advanced CMOS process resulting in a much lower power consumption .

To be able to meet the 12W power consumption upper limit of the CFP2, the DSP-ASIC will reside on the line card, external to the module. A CFP, however, with its upper power limit of 32W will be able to integrate the DSP-ASIC.  

Oclaro expects such an CFP2 module to be available from mid-2014 but there are several hurdles to be overcome.

One is that the next-generation DSP-ASICs will not be available till next year. Another is getting the optics and associated electronics ready. "One challenge is the analogue connector to interface the optics and the DSP," says Blum.

Achieving the CFP2 12W power consumption limit is non-trivial too. "We have data that the transmitter already has a low enough power dissipation," says Blum. 


Board-mounted optics

Finisar demonstrated its board-mounted optical assembly (BOA) running at 28Gbps-per-channel. When Finisar first detailed the VCSEL-based parallel optics engine, it operated at 10Gbps.

The mid-board optics, being aimed at linking chassis and board-to-board interconnect, can be used in several configurations: 24 transmit channels, 24 receive channels or as a transceiver - 12 transmit and 12 receive. When operated at full rate, the resulting data rate is 672Gbps (24x28Gbps) simplex.     

The BOA is protocol-agnostic operating at several speeds ranging from 10Gbps to 28Gbps. For example 25Gbps supports Ethernet lanes for 100Gbps while 28Gbps is used for Optical Transport Network (OTN) and Fibre Channel. Overall the mid-board optics supports Ethernet, PCI Express, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Infiniband, Fibre Channel and proprietary protocols. Finisar has started shipping BOA samples.

Avago detailed samples of higher-speed Atlas optical engine devices based on its 12-channel MicroPod and MiniPod designs. The company has extended the channel speed from 10Gbps to 12.5Gbps and to 14Gbps, giving a total bandwidth of 150Gbps and 168Gbps, respectively. 

"There is enough of a market demand for applications up to 12.5Gbps that justifies a separate part number," says Sharon Hall, product line manager for embedded optics at Avago Technologies.

The 12x12.5Gbps optical engines can be used for 100GBASE-SR10 (10x10Gbps) as well as quad data rate (QDR) Infiniband. The extra capacity supports Optical Transport Network (OTN) with its associated overhead bits for telecom. There are also ASIC designs that require 12.5Gbps interfaces to maximise system bandwidth.

The 12x14Gbps supports the Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) Infiniband standard and addresses system vendors that want yet more bandwidth.

The Atlas optical engines support channel data rates from 1Gbps. The 12x12.5Gbps devices have a reach of 100m while for the 12x14Gbps devices it is 50m.

Hall points out that while there is much interest in 25Gbps channel rates, the total system cost can be expensive due to the immaturity of the ICs: "It is going to take a little bit of time."  Offering a 14Gbps-per-channel rate can keep the overall system cost lower while meeting bandwidth requirements, she says.   


10 Gig EPON

Operators want to increase the split ratio - the number of end users supported by a passive optical network - to lower the overall cost.

A PON reach of 20km is another important requirement to operators, to make best use of their central offices housing the optical line terminal (OLT) that serves PON subscribers.

To meet both requirements, the 10G-EPON has a PRX40 specification standard which has a sufficiently high optical link budget. Finisar has announced a 10G-EPON OLT triplexer optical sub-assembly (OSA) that can be used within an XFP module among others that meets the PRX40 specification.

The OSA triplexer supports 10Gbps and 1G downstream (to the user) and 1Gbps upstream. The two downstream rates are needed as not all subscribers on a PON will transition to a 10G-EPON optical network unit (ONU).  

To meet the standard, a triplexer design typically uses an externally modulated laser. Finisar has met the specification using a less complex directly modulated laser. The result is a 10G-EPON triplexer supporting a split ratio of 1:64 and higher, and that meets the 20km reach requirement.

Finisar will sell the OSA to PON transceiver makers with production starting first quarter, 2014. Up till now the company has used its designs for its own PON transceivers.    


See also:

OFC/NFOEC 2013 product round-up - Part 1, click here

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