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Wednesday
Jun122019

Microchip launches the first terabit physical layer device  

Microchip Technology has unveiled a family of physical layer (PHY) Ethernet devices with a capacity of 1.2 terabits.

The Meta-DX1 PHY family comprises three devices that support three 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) channels, a dozen 100GbE channels or 24, 10GbE channels. 

“We are not aware of any PHY in the industry that supports more than one terabit of traffic,” says Stephen Docking, manager, product marketing at the communications business unit of Microchip. 

The company is also claiming another industry first in offering a PHY that supports the Open Internetworking Forum’s (OIF) Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) standard. 

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Monday
Jun032019

Open Eye MSA offers an alternative to PAM-4 DSPs 

A group of companies, led by Macom and Semtech, have launched a multi-source agreement (MSA) to offer an alternative to using a digital signal processor (DSP) in high-speed client-side optical modules. 

The Open Eye MSA is developing a set of specifications for optical modules that use 50-gigabit 4-level pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM-4) signals whereby only analogue clock and data recovery (CDR) circuitry is required at the receiver.  

By using the CDR instead of a PAM-4 DSP, the optical module will consume less power, have lower latency and be less costly to make, says the MSA.

To ensure interoperability, however, module makers using a PAM-4 DSP will need to meet the new MSA specification. 

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Friday
May312019

ONF’s published reference designs start to be deployed

Operators are already deploying the first reference designs published by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Three of the ONF’s five reference designs have now been made public. 

Just over a year ago, eight operators - AT&T, Comcast, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Google, NTT Group, Telefonica and Turk Telekom - took the step to design key components of their edge and access networks after becoming frustrated with what they perceived as foot-dragging by the systems vendors.  

AT&T is deploying one of the reference designs - the SDN-enabled broadband access scheme (SEBA). Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica have also said they will deploy SEBA during 2019 and 2020. 

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Saturday
May182019

COBO brings operational benefits to the data centre 

Brad Booth admits the hyperscalers have a problem.

“Our operational inefficiencies are massive and it is only going to get worse,” says Booth, principal network architect for Microsoft’s Azure Infrastructure and chair of the Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO).

The COBO-enabled 12.8-terabit demonstrator switch. Source: COBO

The issue, he says, is that when a switch arrives at the data centre, it comes without the optics installed. The operations staff must unpack the optical modules, plug them into the switch and verify that each is working; an exercise that is repeated thousands of times when they commission a new data centre.

“The time it takes for us to get the network up and running impacts how quickly we can monetise the data centre,” says Booth.

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Monday
May132019

Co-packaged optics to debut with 25.6 terabit switch chips

The second article in a series on co-packaged optics.

Part 2: Broadcom - a switch-chip vendor 

The hyperscalers require ever more switching capacity in their data centres to scale the applications they run. A hierarchy of connected switches fitted with optical interfaces is used to provide the pathways that link the tens of thousands of servers found in data centres.

Silicon vendors are responding to this need by doubling the capacity of their switch chips every two years. The largest switch chips have a 12.8-terabit capacity and the first 25.6-terabit devices are expected next year. This relentless pace, however, is one that the optical module makers are struggling to match. 

Source: Gazettabyte

“It is a problem for the optics industry,” says Robert Stone, Distinguished Engineer at leading switch chip player, Broadcom. “The cadence at which we can evolve silicon generally moves a lot faster than the optics guys can monetise a generation of investment, and then reinvest it.”

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Wednesday
May012019

Lumentum completes sale of certain datacom lines to CIG 

Brandon Collings, CTO of Lumentum, talks CIG, 400ZR and 400ZR+, COBO, co-packaged optics and why silicon photonics is not going to change the world.

 

Lumentum has completed the sale of part of its datacom product lines to design and manufacturing company, Cambridge Industries Group. 

The sale will lower the company's quarterly revenues by between $20 million to $25 million. Lumentum also said that it will stop selling datacom transceivers in the next year to 18 months.

Brandon CollingsThe move highlights how fierce competition and diminishing margins from the sale of client-side modules is causing optical component companies to rethink their strategies.

Lumentum’s focus is now to supply its photonic chips to the module makers, including CIG. “From a value-add point of view, there is a lot more value in selling those chips than the modules,” says Brandon Collings, CTO of Lumentum.

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Tuesday
Apr162019

Macom readies its silicon photonics platform for 400G 

  • Macom has announced a laser-integrated photonic integrated circuit (L-PIC) for the 400G-FR4 standard 
  • The company is also working with GlobalFoundries to use the semiconductor foundry’s 300mm wafer silicon photonics process 

Vivek Rajgarhia (centre) being interviewed at OFC. Source: Macom.

Macom has detailed its latest silicon photonics chip to meet the upcoming demand for 400-gigabit interfaces within the data centre. 

The chip, a laser-integrated photonic integrated circuit (L-PIC), was unveiled at the OFC show held last month in San Diego. The L-PIC implements the transmitter circuitry for the 400G-FR4 2km interface standard.

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