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Entries in Nathan Tracy (3)


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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Micro QSFP module to boost equipment port densities  

Twelve companies are developing a compact Quad Small-Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP) module. Dubbed the Micro QSFP (μQSFP), the multi-source agreement (MSA) will improve by a third the port count on a platform's face plate compared to the current QSFP.


Nathan Tracy

The μQSFP will support both copper and optical cabling, and will have an improved thermal performance, benefitting interfaces and platforms.

“There is always a quest for greater port density or aggregate bandwidth,” says Nathan Tracy, technologist at TE Connectivity and chair of the μQSFP MSA.

The challenge for the module makers is to provide denser form factors to increase overall system traffic. “As we go to higher densities, we are also increasing the thermal load,” says Tracy. “And so now it is a mechanical and a thermal [design] problem, and both need to be solved jointly.”

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OIF shows 56G electrical interfaces & CFP2-ACO 

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is using the OFC exhibition taking place in Los Angeles this week to showcase the first electrical interfaces running at 56 Gigabit. Coherent optics in a CFP2 pluggable module is also being demonstrated.


“The most important thing for everyone is power consumption on the line card”

The OIF - an industry organisation comprising communications service providers, internet content providers, system vendors and component companies - is developing the next common electrical interface (CEI) specifications, as well as continuing to advance fixed and pluggable optical module specifications for coherent transmission including the pluggable CFP2.

“These are major milestones that the [demonstration] efforts are even taking place,” says Nathan Tracy, technologist at TE Connectivity and the OIF technical committee chair.

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