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Entries in Voyager (4)

Tuesday
Sep182018

Switch chips not optics set the pace in the data centre  

Broadcom is doubling the capacity of its switch silicon every 18-24 months, a considerable achievement given that Moore’s law has slowed down. 

Last December, Broadcom announced it was sampling its Tomahawk 3 - the industry’s first 12.8-terabit switch chip - just 14 months after it announced its 6.4-terabit Tomahawk 2.

Rochan SankarSuch product cycle times are proving beyond the optical module makers; if producing next-generation switch silicon is taking up to two years, optics is taking three, says Broadcom. 

“Right now, the problem with optics is that they are the laggards,” says Rochan Sankar, senior director of product marketing at switch IC maker, Broadcom. “The switching side is waiting for the optics to be deployable.”

The consequence, says Broadcom, is that in the three years spanning a particular optical module generation, customers have deployed two generations of switches. For example, the 3.2-terabit Tomahawk based switches and the higher-capacity Tomahawk 2 ones both use QSFP28 and SFP28 modules. 

In future, a closer alignment in the development cycles of the chip and the optics will be required, argues Broadcom.

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Monday
Dec182017

TIP tackles the growing complexity of open design

Axel Clauberg outlined the challenges facing the telecom industry in his opening address at the recent Telecom Infra Project (TIP) summit.

The TIP chairman and vice president, technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom, described how the relentless growth of IP traffic is causing production costs to rise yet the average revenues per subscriber for bundled communication services is flat or dipping. “Not a good situation to be in,” he said. The industry is also investing in new technologies including the rollout of 5G.

Niall Robinson

The industry needs a radically different approach if it is to achieve capital efficiency, says Clauberg, and that requires talent to drive innovation. Garnering such talent requires an industry-wide effort and this is the motivation for TIP.

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Tuesday
Dec202016

TIP seeks to shake up the telecom marketplace 

The telecom industry has long recognised the benefits of the Internet content providers' data-centre work practices. It has led to the operators starting to embrace software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) technology whereby telecom functions that previously required custom hardware are executed as software on servers.

 Niall Robinson

Now, ten telcos, systems vendors, component and other players have joined Facebook as part of the Telecom Infra Project, or TIP, to bring the benefits of open-source design and white-box platforms to telecoms. TIP has over 300 members and has seven ongoing projects across three network segments of focus: access, backhaul, and core and management. 

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Thursday
Dec152016

NeoPhotonics samples its first CFP-DCO products

NeoPhotonics has entered the fray as a supplier of long-distance CFP pluggable modules that integrate the coherent DSP-ASIC chip with the optics. 

The company has announced two such CFP Digital Coherent Optics (CFP-DCO) modules: a 100 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) module and a dual-rate 100Gbps and 200Gbps one.

“Our rationale [for entering the CFP-DCO market] is we have all the optical components and the [merchant coherent] DSPs are now becoming available,” says Ferris Lipscomb (pictured), vice president of marketing at NeoPhotonics. “It is possible to make this product without developing your own custom DSP, with all the expense that entails.”

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