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Entries in co-packaged optics (6)

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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Thursday
Feb212019

Ayar Labs prepares for the era of co-packaged optics 

The first of two articles on co-packaged optics.

Part 1: Ayar Labs

Ayar Labs is readying its co-packaged optics technology for scaled production in the second half of 2020. So says CEO Charlie Wuischpard who joined the start-up in late 2018 after it secured $24 million in funding to bring its products to market.

Co-packaged optics refers to the intimate coupling of optics with an ASIC in one package. Such tightly-coupled optics promises to overcome the growing system challenges associated with linking an ASIC’s high-speed signals to pluggable optics residing on a platform’s faceplate.

Charlie Wuischpard Wuischpard joined Ayar Labs from Intel where he led the supercomputing segment within the company’s data centre group. Wuischpard also led Intel’s disaggregated rack initiative.

“In both these, silicon photonics plays a huge role in enabling future architectures and future designs,” he says.

Ayar Labs raised its funding after demonstrating successfully its optical designs: a silicon-photonics optical chiplet, dubbed Teraphy, and its Supernova external laser source. 

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Thursday
Dec202018

Interview: Finisar’s CEO reflects on a notable year 

Michael Hurlston has had an eventful 2018. 

The year started with him replacing Finisar’s veteran CEO, Jerry Rawls, and it is now ending with Finisar being acquired by the firm II-VI for $3.2 billion.

Michael Hurlston

Finisar is Hurlston’s first experience in the optical component industry, having spent his career in semiconductors. One year in and he already has strong views about the industry and its direction.

“We have seen in the semiconductor industry a period of massive consolidation in the last three to four years,” says Hurlston, in his first interview sinced the deal was announced. “I think it is not that different in optics: scales matters.”    

Hurlston says that, right from the start, he recognised the need to drive industry consolidation. “We had started thinking about that fairly deeply at the time the Lumentum-Oclaro acquisition was announced and that gave us more impetus to look at this,” says Hurlston. The result was revealed in November with the announced acquisition of Finisar by II-VI.

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Wednesday
Oct262016

COBO: specification work nearing completion

The Consortium for On-board Optics (COBO) is on target to complete its specifications work by the year end. The work will then enter a final approval stage that will take up to a further three months.

On-board optics, also known as mid-board or embedded optics, have been available for years but vendors have so far had to use custom products. The goal of COBO, first announced in March 2015 and backed by such companies as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Finisar and Intel, is to develop a technology roadmap and common specifications for on-board optics to ensure interoperability.

Brad Booth (pictured), the chair of COBO and principal architect for Microsoft’s Azure Global Networking Services, says that bringing optics inside systems raises a different set of issues compared to pluggable optical modules used on the front panel of equipment. “If you have a requirement for 32 ports on a faceplate, you know mechanically what you can build,” says Booth.

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Sunday
Aug282016

Heterogeneous integration comes of age

Silicon photonics luminaries series

Interview 7: Professor John Bowers

 

August has been a notable month for John Bowers.

Juniper Networks announced its intention to acquire Aurrion, the US silicon photonics start-up that Bowers co-founded with Alexander Fang. And Intel, a company Bowers worked with on a hybrid integration laser-bonding technique, unveiled its first 100-gigabit silicon photonics transceivers.

 

Professor John BowersBower, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), first started working in photonics in 1981 while at AT&T Bell Labs.

When he became interested in silicon photonics, it still lacked a good modulator and laser. "If you don't have a laser and a modulator, or a directly modulated laser, it is not a very interesting chip,” says Bowers. "So I started thinking how to do that."

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