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Entries in OSFP (6)

Friday
Oct202017

The many paths to 400 gigabits

The race is on to deliver 400-gigabit optical interfaces in time for the next-generation of data centre switches expected in late 2018.

The industry largely agrees that a four-wavelength 400-gigabit optical interface is most desirable yet alternative designs are also being developed.

Optical module makers must consider such factors as technical risk, time-to-market and cost when choosing which design to back.

Rafik Ward, FinisarUntil now, the industry has sought a consensus on interfaces, making use of such standards bodies as the IEEE to serve the telecom operators.

Now, the volumes of modules used by the internet giants are such that they dictate their own solutions. And the business case for module makers is sufficiently attractive that they are willing to comply.

Another challenge at 400 gigabits is that there is no consensus regarding what pluggable form factor to use. 

“There is probably more technical risk in 400 gigabits than any of the historical data-rate jumps we have seen,” says Rafik Ward, vice president of marketing at Finisar.

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Monday
Oct092017

Oclaro’s 400-gigabit plans

Adam Carter, Oclaro’s chief commercial officer, discusses the company’s 400-gigabit and higher-speed coherent optical transmission plans and the 400-gigabit client-side pluggable opportunity.    

Oclaro showcased its first coherent module that uses Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai digital signal processor at the ECOC show held recently in Gothenburg.

Adam CarterOclaro is one of three optical module makers, the others being Lumentum and NeoPhotonics, that signed an agreement with Ciena earlier this year to use the system vendor’s DSP technology and know-how to bring coherent modules to market. The first product resulting from the collaboration is a 5x7-inch board-mounted module that supports 400-gigabits on a single-wavelength.   

The first WaveLogic Ai-based modules are already being tested at several of Oclaro’s customers’ labs. “They [the module samples] are very preliminary,” says Adam Carter, the chief commercial officer at Oclaro. “The really important timeframe is when we get towards the new year because then we will have beta samples.”

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Tuesday
Sep122017

New MSA to enable four-lambda 400-gigabit modules

A new 100-gigabit single-wavelength multi-source agreement (MSA) has been created to provide the industry with 2km and 10km 100-gigabit and 400-gigabit four-wavelength interfaces.

Mark NowellThe MSA is backed by 22 founding companies including Microsoft, Alibaba and Cisco Systems.

The initiative started work two months ago and a draft specification is expected before the year end.

“Twenty-two companies is a very large MSA at this stage, which shows the strong interest in this technology,” says Mark Nowell, distinguished engineer, data centre switching at Cisco Systems and co-chair of the 100G Lambda MSA. “It is clear this is going to be the workhorse technology for the industry for quite a while.”

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Tuesday
Sep052017

Inphi unveils a second 400G PAM-4 IC family

Inphi has announced the Vega family of 4-level, pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM-4) chips for 400-gigabit interfaces.

The 16nm CMOS Vega IC family is designed for enterprise line cards and is Inphi’s second family of 400-gigabit chips that support eight lanes of 50-gigabit PAM-4.

Its first 8x50-gigabit family, dubbed Polaris, is used within 400-gigabit optical modules and was announced at the OFC show held in Los Angeles in March.

“Polaris is a stripped-down low-power DSP targeted at optical module applications,” says Siddharth Sheth, senior vice president, networking interconnect at Inphi (pictured). “Vega, also eight by 50-gigabits, is aimed at enterprise OEMs for their line-card retimer and gearbox applications.”  

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Sunday
Aug202017

SFP-DD: Turning the SFP into a 100-gigabit module

Part 2: New optical transceiver MSA

An industry initiative has started to quadruple the data rate of the SFP, the smallest of the pluggable optical modules. The Small Form Factor Pluggable – Double Density (SFP-DD) is being designed to support 100 gigabits by doubling the SFP’s electrical lanes from one to two and doubling their speed.

Scott SommersThe new multi-source agreement (MSA), to be completed during 2018, will be rated at 3.5W; the same power envelope as the current 100-gigabit QSFP module, even though the SFP-DD is expected to be 2.5x smaller in size.

The front panel of a 1-rack-unit box will be able to support up to 96 SFP-DD modules, a total capacity of 9.6 terabits. 

The SFP-DD is adopting a similar philosophy as that being used for the 400-gigabit QSFP-DD MSA: an SFP-DD port will support legacy SFPs modules - the 25-gigabit SFP28 and 10-gigabit SFP - just as the QSFP-DD will be backward compatible with existing QSFP modules.

“Time and time again we have heard with the QSFP-DD that plugging in legacy modules is a key benefit of that technology,” says Scott Sommers, group product manager at Molex and the chair of the new SFP-DD MSA. Sommers is also a co-chair of the QSFP-DD MSA.

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Thursday
Jun222017

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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