ECOC '15 Reflections: Part 2 
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 6:38PM
Roy Rubenstein in 100 Gigabit, Bell Labs, CFP2-ACO, ECOC 2015, Finisar, Fujitsu Optical Components, Kaiam, Oclaro, PAM-4, QSFP28, lithium niobate, silicon photonics

Part 2: More industry executives share the trends and highlights they noted at the recent European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) event, held in Valencia. 

 

Martin Zirngibl, head of network enabling components and technologies at Bell Labs. 

Silicon Photonics is seeming to gain traction, but traditional component suppliers are still betting on indium phosphide.

There are many new start-ups in silicon photonics, most seem to be going after the 100 gigabit QSFP28 market. However, silicon photonics still needs a ubiquitous high-volume application for the foundry model to be sustainable.

There is a battle between 4x25 Gig CWDM and 100 Gig PAM-4 56 gigabaud, with most people believing that 400 Gig PAM-4 or discrete multi-tone with 100 Gig per lambda will win.

 

Will coherent make it into black and white applications - up to 80 km - or is there a role for a low-cost wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) system with direct detection?

 

One highlight at ECOC was the 3D integrated 100 Gig silicon photonics by Kaiam.

In coherent, the analogue coherent optics (ACO) model seems to be winning over the digital coherent one, and people are now talking about 400 Gig single carrier for metro and data centre interconnect applications.

As for what I’ll track in the coming year: will coherent make it into black and white applications - up to 80 km - or is there a role for a low-cost wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) system with direct detection?

 

Yukiharu Fuse, director, marketing department at Fujitsu Optical Components

There were no real surprises as such at ECOC this year. The products and demonstrations on show were within expectations but perhaps were more realistic than last year’s show.

Most of the optical component suppliers demonstrated support to meet the increasing demand of data centres for optical interfaces.

The CFP2 Analogue Coherent Optics (CFP2-ACO) form factor’s ability to support multiple modulation formats configurable by the user makes it a popular choice for data centre interconnect applications. In particular, by supporting 16-QAM, the CFP2-ACO can double the link capacity using the same optics.

 

Lithium niobate and indium-phosphide modulators will continue to be needed for coherent optical transmission for years to come

 

Recent developments in indium phosphide designs has helped realise the compact packaging needed to fit within the CFP2 form factor.

I saw the level of integration and optical engine configurations within the CFP2-ACO differ from vendor to vendor. I’m interested to see which approach ends up being the most economical once volume production starts.

Oclaro introduced a high-bandwidth lithium niobate modulator for single wavelength 400 gigabit optical transmission. Lithium niobate continues to play an important role in enabling future higher baud rate applications with its excellent bandwidth performance. My belief is that both lithium niobate and indium-phosphide modulators will continue to be needed for coherent optical transmission for years to come.

 

Chris Cole, senior director, transceiver engineering at Finisar

ECOC technical sessions and exhibition used to be dominated by telecom and long haul transport technology. There is a shift to a much greater percentage focused on datacom and data centre technology.

 

What I learned at the show is that cost pressures are increasing

 

There were no major surprises at the show. It was interesting to see about half of the exhibition floor occupied by Chinese optics suppliers funded by several Chinese government entities like municipalities jump-starting industrial development.

What I learned at the show is that cost pressures are increasing.

New datacom optics technologies including optical packaging, thermal management, indium phosphide and silicon integration are all on the agenda to track in the coming year.

 

Article originally appeared on Gazettabyte (http://www.gazettabyte.com/).
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