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Entries in QSFP-DD (8)

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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Tuesday
Oct102017

Acacia announces a 1.2 terabit coherent module

Acacia Communications has given first details of its AC1200 coherent optical module, capable of transmitting up to 1.2 terabits of data. The custom coherent transceiver is being aimed at applications ranging from linking data centres to long-haul and even sub-sea transmissions and was announced at the recent ECOC show held in Gothenburg.

Channel capacity and link margin can be maximised by using the fractional QAM scheme. Source: Acacia.

The company is facing increasing market competition. Ciena has teamed up with Lumentum, NeoPhotonics, and Oclaro, sharing its high-end coherent DSP expertise with the three optical module makers. Meanwhile, Inphi has started sampling its 16nm CMOS M200, a 100- and 200-gigabit coherent DSP suitable for CFP2-ACO, CFP-DCO, and CFP2-DCO module designs.

The AC1200 is Acacia’s response, extending its high-end module offering beyond a terabit to compete with the in-house system vendors and preserve its performance lead against the optical module makers.

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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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Tuesday
Aug082017

Heavy Reading’s take on optical module trends  

Part 1: Optical transceiver trends 

The industry knows what the next-generation 400-gigabit client-side interfaces will look like but uncertainty remains regarding what form factors to use. So says Simon Stanley who has just authored a report entitled: From 25/100G to 400/600G: A Competitive analysis of Optical Modules and Components.

Implementing the desired 400-gigabit module designs is also technically challenging, presenting 200-gigabit modules with a market opportunity should any slip occur at 400 gigabits.

 

Simon StanleyStanley, analyst-at-large at Heavy Reading and principal consultant at Earlswood Marketing, points to several notable developments that have taken place in the last year. For 400 gigabits, the first CFP8 modules are now available. There are also numerous suppliers of 100-gigabit QSFP28 modules for the CWDM4 and PSM4 multi-source agreements (MSAs). He also highlights the latest 100-gigabit SFP-DD MSA, and how coherent technology for line-side transmission continues to mature.

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