Optical Connections Magazine Autumn 2023

Bringing the World the Latest in Optical Communications News

ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023

Pushing fibre to the limit | p12 BEYOND SHANNON:


THE ROAD TO 800G MSA PLUGGABLES: Challenges and requirements | p24


Oleksii Ilchenko | p26


Media Partners to


THE FUTURE IS FIBRE Welcome to the Autumn 2023 edition of Optical Connections. ECOC is upon us once again offering a wide range of new products and presentations ranging from FTTx rollout to photonics. Most of all, it provides a glimpse of the future of this exciting industry. In this issue, we aim to echo some of the developments taking the industry forward, with thought leadership features by industry experts and leading journalists in the field. The future for fibre optics is bright indeed, but there are still challenges to overcome if the full potential of the technology is to be realised and it continues to keep pace with the ever-increasing demands made upon it. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges is that set by the Shannon Limit, that physical barrier that determines the volume of error-free data that can be sent over a fibre. However, there are ways to get around it as Ribbon Communications’ Jonathan Homa explains. On the subject of speed and capacity, Acacia’s Eug e ne Park looks at the work currently being done in the industry around this new generation of pluggable modules and highlights some of the key features that need to be available before network operators can start taking advantage of them in their networks. In a related topic, Nokia’s Serge Melle writes that with new advances and capabilities enabled by Moore’s Law and new silicon node geometries are allowing higher DSP speeds, lower power consumption, and advanced features.

4 8

Industry News

Co-Packaged Optics John Williamson

12 Beyond Shannon Jonathan Homa 18 High-Performance Embedded Coherent Paul Momtahan 22 Sixth-Generation Super-Coherent Optics Serge Melle 24 The Road To 800g MSA Pluggables Eugene Park 26 EPIC CEO Interview Oleksii Ilchenko 30 Test & Measurement Etienne Gagnon 32 Up In The Air Thomas Ritz 34 Subsea Cables Antony Savvas 36 ECOC 2023 Preview 37 ECOC 2023 Market Focus 39 ECOC 2023 Industry Awards

In addition, we take a look at what’s driving growth in subsea cables, how aerial can speed up rollout in underserved areas and how effective test and measurement can speed rollout by picking up installation errors.

And finally, don’t forget to check out our webinars, including this year’s series which featured Support Systems for Fibre Networks and Sustainability. You can catch up on these and all the previous presentations at opticalconnectionsnews.com/webinars.

Peter Dykes Contributing Editor

40 Angacom Wrap 43 Product Focus

READ ONLINE/SUBSCRIBE: www.opticalconnectionsnews.com FOLLOW US @opconsnews EDITORIAL : editor@opticalconnectionsnews.com ADVERTISING: sales@opticalconnectionsnews.com DESIGN: Antonio Manuel


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ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023


Optical transport revenue growth exceeds expectations

Multiservice Multiplexer revenue. It adds that the largest global WDM suppliers in the trailing four quarter period were Huawei, Ciena, Nokia, ZTE, Infinera, and FibreHome. Among these vendors, Nokia and FibreHome gained the most market share compared to the previous year period. FibreHome’s optical revenue grew at the highest rate among the vendors at over 30% year- over-year. “It was another great quarter for optical system vendors,” said Jimmy

According to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group, Optical Transport equipment revenue grew 5% year-over-year in 2Q 2023. This was the third consecutive quarter that the optical market growth rate topped estimates. The analyst says the optical transport market revenue grew 5% year- over-year in 2Q 2023 to a little over US$4.0 billion. The better- than-expected revenue was due to higher DWDM Long Haul and

at 4%, believing year-over- year growth will slow in the back half of the year,” added Yu. The Optical Transport Quarterly Report covers manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, and unit shipments (by speed including 100 Gbps, 200 Gbps, 400 Gbps, and 800 Gbps). It also tracks DWDM long haul, WDM metro, multiservice multiplexers (SONET/ SDH), optical switch, optical packet platforms, data centre interconnect (metro and long haul), and disaggregated WDM.

Yu, vice president at Dell’Oro Group (pictured). “Ever since component supply eased up, system manufacturers have been able to deliver more products to their customers that sat in backlog. As a result, optical revenues have increased at a faster rate than expected. With that said, some customers are signalling a need for a little pause after receiving these deliveries. Therefore, even though the results in the first half of 2023 were higher than expected, we are holding the full year 2023 outlook

OIF to achieves largest ever multi-vendor interoperability demo at ECOC 2023

a 400ZR coherent optical interface with an Implementation Agreement (IA) back in April 2020, and the first 3.2T CPO IA in April 2023. The collaborative efforts of OIF’s network operator, system vendor, component vendor and test equipment vendor members will be on display, illustrating their contributions in driving the adoption of technologies for both present and future networks. OIF member companies participating in the demo are Adtran; Alphawave Semi; Amphenol; Applied Optoelectronics, Inc.;

OIF is planning to showcase its largest- ever multi-vendor interoperability demonstration at ECOC 2023. 39 companies will participate in live and static interoperability demos at OIF’s booth #304, highlighting advancements in four key technology areas: 400ZR+ optics, Co- Packaging solutions, Common Electrical I/O (CEI) CEI-112G & CEI- 224G channels and Common Management Interface Specification (CMIS) implementations. OIF first mooted

Sicoya; Source Photonics; Sumitomo Electric Industries; Synopsys; Telefonica S.A.; VIAVI Solutions and Wilder Technologies. The interoperability demo is supported by participating companies Telefonica and LightRiver. Telefonica is the hosting consulting network operator, and LightRiver is a host for technology-specific pre- demonstration integration testing. Additionally, during ECOC, OIF will continue its commemoration of 25 years dedicated to driving meaningful progress in the industry.

Broadcom Inc.; Cadence Design Systems, Inc.; Casela Technologies; Ciena; Cisco Systems; Coherent; Credo Technology Group; Eoptolink; EXFO; Fujitsu Optical Components; Hisense Broadband; Infinera; Juniper Networks; Keysight Technologies; Linktel Technologies; Lumentum; MACOM Technology Solutions; Molex; MultiLane, Inc.; NEC Corporation; Nokia; O-Net Technologies; Precision Optical Transceivers, Inc.; Quantifi Photonics; Samtec; Semtech; Senko Advanced Components;


| ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023



Nokia first broadband manufacturer for U.S. BEAD programme

PhotonVentures raises €60 million to boost Euro photonics startups

startups and scale-ups. PhotonVentures is an independent deep tech venture capital firm that has emerged from PhotonDelta, the force behind the Dutch

technology that is built in the U.S. is an important requirement for states and infrastructure players seeking to participate in BEAD and the US$42.45 billion of available funding allocated for broadband rollouts to unserved and underserved communities. Nokia fibre-optic broadband products manufactured in the U.S. will include an OLT (Optical Line Termination) card for a modular Access Node; a small form factor OLT; OLT optical modules; and an “outdoor-hardened” ONT (Optical Network Terminal).

Netherlands-based PhotonVentures has

Nokia has become the first telecom company to announce the manufacturing of fibre- optic broadband network electronics products and optical modules in the U.S. for use in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. Nokia says that by manufacturing fibre-optic technology in the U.S., it will be able to supply its products and services to critical projects like BEAD that are focused on narrowing the digital divide, helping to further contribute to the nation’s economic growth and job creation. Having access to

launched a venture capital fund aimed at early-stage photonic chip startups and scale ups. €60 million was raised in its first financing round with PhotonDelta as the lead investor alongside numerous private investors. PhotonVentures plans to raise a total of €100 to €150 million, with its final close set for the start of 2024. It will prioritise Series A rounds, with the aim of providing investments between €1 million - €2.5 million. PhotonVentures’ investment strategy leverages on the Dutch PhotonDelta ecosystem to accelerate European

integrated photonics ecosystem. The two

organisations are strategic partners with the aim of supporting the rapid growth of Europe’s photonics industry. The fund is planning to initially invest in 15 European deep-tech companies that have potential to grow into international winners in their sectors. The startups should have an integrated photonics-based MVP connected to the European ecosystem.



ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023


LightRiver, Infinera, complete multi-vendor interop demo

on Infinera’s ICE-X intelligent coherent pluggable technology and LightRiver’s netFLEX® Transport Domain Orchestration and Control Software combined with Infinera’s Intelligent Pluggables Manager (IPM) software, providing seamless multi-vendor network automation. The multi-vendor demonstration illustrates how LightRiver’s netFLEX® along with Infinera’s IPM can enable seamless

Infinera and LightRiver have announced the successful completion of a multi-vendor interoperability technology demonstration that leverages the latest generation of coherent pluggable solutions and validates how network orchestration can provide substantial improvements in network efficiency and enable new high-speed business services. The demonstration is based

FTTX PON solution. Infinera says the demonstration validates how network operators can leverage next-generation coherent pluggables to provide significant improvement in network efficiencies and expand network capacity by as much as 40 times, while also delivering new high- speed business services to currently underserved remote rural areas, including over single-fibre FTTX PON infrastructures.

network operation of multi-vendor networks leveraging the efficiencies of intelligent coherent pluggable solutions in conjunction with the latest generation of routers and FTTX PON solutions. The demonstration includes Infinera’s ICE-X line of intelligent coherent pluggables deployed in third-party host devices, including routers from Juniper Networks operating over a Smartoptics open ROADM system and the leading

Sumitomo cuts transmission loss in optical cables

Aqua Comms, Meta, Microsoft, Vodafone, complete transatlantic cable

wavelength of 1550 nm, this makes it the world’s lowest transmission loss for terrestrial cables. The cables have been selected for a wide-area DCI project connecting data centre clusters in Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Chiba, and the delivery has been completed. The outstanding low-loss performance of these cables enables to construct extremely low-loss transmission links including a 157 km-long section with the total loss of as low as 36 dB after deployment (including splice and connector losses). This will allow for high- capacity data transmission between data centres and reduce the number of optical repeaters, realising reliable transmission links with reduced overall system costs.

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd, says it has improved the transmission loss of terrestrial optical fibre cables using PureAdvanceTM-110, a pure-silica-core, low- loss, large effective-area (Aeff) fibre. These cables have been selected for a data centre interconnect

Aqua Comms, Meta, Microsoft, and Vodafone have announced the completion of the Amitié subsea cable system, the first to directly connect Boston to Europe and Bordeaux to North America. The 6,783 km trans-Atlantic system, which was built by Alcatel Submarine Networks, has landings in Lynn, Massachusetts; Widemouth Bay, England; and Le Porge, France. With 16 fibre pairs and 400 Tbps, Aqua Comms says Amitié is the highest capacity transoceanic communications cable ever deployed. The system includes a

branching unit 860 km from France and 650 km from the UK. The device allows the owners to switch either individual optical wavelengths between different landings or the full fibre capacity via two different types of switching technologies. Amitié is now fully commissioned and tested and was handed over to Aqua Comms, Meta, Microsoft, and Vodafone in July 2023. The system was constructed under a Joint Build Agreement between the four partners, who worked together in close cooperation with the supplier and the landing providers.

(DCI) project, with delivery recently

completed. To achieve even lower transmission loss, Sumitomo Electric applied ultra-low-loss pure-silica-core fibre technologies. As a result, the transmission loss of optical fibre cables using PureAdvanceTM-110 has been improved from 0.17 dB/km to 0.16 dB/km or below. Sumitomo says that given a typical value at a


| ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023



Close Component Encounters of the Preferred Kind? CO-PACKAGED OPTICS:

The requirements for CPO are well versed. Traditional I/O architectures are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demand by various networking applications for greater and greater compute, storage and data movement resources and efficiencies at lower power consumption levels. This is especially true for Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning (AI/ML) applications, writes John Williamson .

W hile there’s Packaged Optics (CPO) market, there’s some consensus that the business is going to get bigger. For example, the Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) Inc analyst firm predicts that the CPO modules market will reach $5.5 billion in 2027, including Near Packaged Optics (NPO) products. CIR also sees data centres generating $19-plus billion revenues of aggregate spending on CPO over the 2023 to 2028 period. “As data rates increase using the industry’s current architectures, the portion of total power used in networking climbs rapidly,”. “This will especially be a problem as data rates approach 200G and as we see the addition of ‘backend’ networks to support AI/ML clusters.” presently some variance in the estimated size of the current and future Co- CPO TO THE RESCUE? In-packaged optics are intended to address the looming and foreseeable performance shortfalls and bottlenecks of conventional electrical I/Os. Here, the Co-packaged Optics for Datacenter 2023 report from Yole Intelligence estimates that, when in-package optical I/O technology is coupled with

Pancholy, Director, Hyperscale Strategy & Products, at Broadcom Inc’s Optical Systems Division. But getting to grips with specific CPO metrics may not be straightforward. “We have shared some power numbers publicly in the past, but the industry is just using those as competitive targets,” remarks Pancholy. “We share specific numbers with customers and prospects under NDA.” MOMENTUM BUILDING There have been a number of positive developments advancing the CPO cause in recent months. New would-be players have appeared, various different and advanced demoes have been mounted and, as noted by CIR, China has set up its own CPO development organisation and work on standards setting is beginning in that country. At the same time, the proposed remit of CPO is enlarging. CIR President Lawrence Gasman identifies a number of sector trends. “One is the broadening beyond how CPO has usually been thought of,” he says. “Towards new applications, for example, sensors being the obvious one. The other trend is the hint that somehow a new silicon photonics is about to appear in which CPO will figure as an application, or something like that.” What is seen as a seminal event was the announcement in April by the

packaging innovations such as chiplets and silicon photonics, solutions can provide up to 1,000 times the bandwidth at one tenth the power of electrical I/O. 1 PIC: But on the reduced power and latency fronts, as well as CPO, there is now interest in Linear-drive Pluggable Optics (LPO). “There is a potential alternative to co-packaged optics in the form of LPOs remaining at the front panel of the switch,” remarks Martin Vallo, Ph.D., Senior Analyst within the Photonics and Sensing Division at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group. “LPOs are designed without DSPs or CDRs, resulting in significantly lower power consumption and reduced latency than conventional DSP-based solutions.” In addition, says Vallo, reducing latency is a crucial improvement in applications such as switch-to-switch, switch-to-server, and GPU-to- GPU connectivity in ML and High- Performance Computing (HPC). “LPOs are going to be available for both multi- mode and single-mode applications,” he predicts. Broadcom believes CPO is a better option, and says that, at the 100G/ lane, its CPO provides the lowest power, and at 200G/lane, this becomes even lower. “This is a power level that DSP-based pluggables and linear pluggables cannot reach,” states Rajiv


| ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023



available to the CPO players,” he points out. “There is also FR4 standards that were developed for legacy optical technologies that are being considered to change for higher density applications using silicon photonics. This should also be there by the time CPO is ready for mass deployment for Ethernet applications.” And don’t forget Near Packaged Optics (NPO) - at least for now. Vallo argues that it is challenging with today’s technology to surround the 50T switch chip with 16 3.2Tbps optical modules, and that NPO architecture tackles this by using a high-performance PCB substrate – an interposer – that sits on the host board, in contrast to CPO where the modules surround the chip on a multi- chip module substrate. “We believe that NPO architecture is a temporary solution that tackles challenges related to the manufacturing of the CPO optical engines surrounding the chip on a multi-chip module substrate,” he says. “Ultimately, this approach will be phased out once CPO manufacturing yield is achieved.” At the same time, challenges facing the CPO industry are not trivial. “The industrial ecosystem has not yet developed,” reports Vallo. “We need to understand how to solve some complex problems related to the integration of multiple components from different vendors and need to learn how to make it cost-effective and achieve good yields.” In-situ CPO serviceability and reparability, and test and validation techniques and methodologies look to require further development. WHAT NEXT FOR CPO? Innovation in packaging is an area of interest for Broadcom. “There are new novel packing methods, ways to stack die-to-die interconnect that may even be able to provide an end-to-end KP4 FEC on a 200G/lane link without any intercode FEC,” speculates Pancholy. “Whether it be FR2, FR4, or FR8, you are going to need multiplex wavelengths to solve beach-front density issues.”

More standardisation is on the cards and is already happening. In June 2023 the OIF began a new effort to look at the next generation of energy efficient solutions, with the official launch of the Energy Efficient Interface Framework project. The objective of this initiative is to identify critical applications and their requirements for next-generation electrical and optical links. As well as CPO, targeted solutions include die-to- die, NPO and pluggables. “The effort is driven by end-users and will also include studying additional lower power configurations such as partially and non- retimed solutions,” sums up Hutchins. Yole ends on a cautious note. “To satisfy the market demands and convince end-users of CPO viability, multi-vendor business models and considerable cost and power savings must be proven,” concludes Vallo. “The full-scale deployment of CPO will only happen when pluggables run out of steam.” LINE DANCING A recent analysis from LightCounting reckons LPO/CPO ports will account for more than 30% of the total 800G and 1.6T ports deployed in 2026 to 2028. LightCounting further expects to see the first deployments of linear drive pluggable transceivers in the end of 2024. However, cautions the market intelligence firm, the deployments will be limited in scale until standards are developed and multiple vendors start offering standard products. But not everyone is entirely sold on the LPO proposition. In the view of Broadcom, once you introduce pluggability, you create connector and package losses that must be compensated for. With linear pluggables having removed the DSP, Pancholy questions how you make the physics work? He suggests that vendors can create book-ended solutions, or relax spec conditions, to make it work. “But we believe that focusing on something that compared to a 3nm DSP only saves you 2 to 3W of power and is hard to scale to 200G/lane, is not the right way to be spending resources,” he reasons.

OIF of industry’s first co-packaging standard – the 3.2T Co-Packaged Module Implementation Agreement. “Since co-packaging involves bringing so many new technologies together, end users were interested in an early co-packaging effort so that industry can learn from it, leverage a published interoperable interface and be prepared for the next generation of co-packaging,” sums up Hutchins. “OIF member companies from across the ecosystem have worked together to develop a number of new solutions. For example, new optical and electrical connectors, and module management interface extensions for supporting CPO.”

OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN? However it’s possible to get the

enthusiasm for CPO out of proportion. “A lot of companies are involved but, in many cases, they are simply keeping a watching brief on what technology platform may take them beyond 800G,” contends Gasman. “Often the first priority of transceiver vendors today is on coherent.” Nor is anyone predicting the imminent demise of pluggables at the hand of CPO deployments. Vallo states that pluggables have a well-established industrial ecosystem and a “pay as you grow” deployment model that gives flexibility and supports multiple standards. “Future CPO revenue will depend strongly on end-user demand for AI/M,” he judges. “In the AI/ML space, we see that data centre operators are making huge commitments to the AI/ML clusters they want to build – but so far, they are all based on pluggable optics modules.” Interoperability between CPO and pluggables is also a fact of data centre optical life. As observed by Hamid Arabzadeh, Ranovus Chairman, President and CEO, there’s a mandatory requirement for any CPO to be able to interoperate at the “optical link” level with pluggables. “The standard for the optical interface is already well established for DR and there are some more stringent DR+ standards

Jeff Hutchins OIF Board Member & PLL Working Group, Co-Packaging Vice Chair, Ranovus.

Martin Vallo, Ph.D. Senior Analyst, Photonics and Sensing Division, Yole Intelligence.

Hamid Arabzadeh Chairman, President & CEO, Ranovus.

Lawrence Gasman President, CIR.

Rajiv Pancholy Director, Hyperscale Strategy & Products, Broadcom


| ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023




The Shannon Limit defines the maximum rate of error-free data that can theoretically be transferred over a channel for a particular noise level. However, the fibre optic communications industry is developing work-arounds to get the largest possible data capacity over the longest distance. Optical Connections editor Peter Dykes spoke with Ribbon Communications’ Senior Director, IP Optical Solutions Marketing Jonathan Homa about the latest developments.

Is it possible to get around the Shannon limit?

capacity by using denser modulations, we have reached the limit of that using probabilistic constellation shaping. For example, Metro applications typically aim to use 16QAM that encodes four bits per symbol for distances up to about 1000 kilometres. After that the physics of the fibre says you can’t send it any further. There’s nothing you can do.

for 1000 kilometres, or you can send a single 800G signal for 1000 kilometres over a 150 gigahertz channel. You haven’t increased the spectral efficiency, because you’re still just sending 800G, but what you have done is you have halved the number of wavelengths. By increasing the baud rate, you’re able to ramp up the speed from 400G to 800G. Instead of two times 75 gigahertz channels, you do this over a single 150 gigahertz channel. What you’ve done is decreased the number of wavelengths, and since most of the cost of your network is in the lasers and the transceivers that are used to transmit these wavelengths so one 800G wavelength will be quite a bit less expensive than two 400G wavelengths. So that primarily is how we work around the Shannon limit, by using advances in silicon technology, to increase the baud rate, and have faster line rates with fewer wavelengths.


What the Shannon limit is telling us is that we’re operating at the edge of the spectral efficiency in


terms of what fibre can handle. If you can’t increase the capacity on the fibre because of the Shannon limit, the question is, where do you go from there? There are really two directions you can go. One direction, and this is almost where all the industry efforts have been taking place over the last few years, is by trading something off. The line rate is directly proportional to the modulation density, that is, how many bits we can encode on a single symbol. Depending on using different types of encoding, most of which is quadrature amplitude modulation today, it’s a matter of how fast you can transmit those symbols, the baud rate, which effectively determines the line rate. This is done with two polarisations, so you’re doubling the line rate, and there is a small overhead that has to be taken off for forward error correction, but based on this kind of approach, we have effectively reached the physical limit of what can be done with modulation. It is not possible to get more

If the limit is impassable, what are the alternatives?


The only way that we can really work around the Shannon limit is by sending these symbols faster,


namely by increasing the baud rate. The way we’re doing that is we’re employing DSP technology to enable us to transmit and recover these symbols more efficiently by exploiting silicon. What we’re able to do is use this to have faster line rates at a particular modulation. However, and this is where the trade-off occurs, this doesn’t increase the spectral efficiency because when you increase the baud rate, you also need to increase the spectral bandwidth. Think about it this way, using the 16QAM modulation we mentioned above, you can send two 400G signals over a 75 gigahertz channel

So how is this achieved?


JH There are two kinds of optimisation taking place and it’s all about the underlying optic technologies. One is trying to work as


| ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023



What the Shannon limit is telling us is that we’re operating at the edge of the spectral efficiency in terms of what fibre can handle.

development five nanometre versions of the cost/power optimised technology, and in 18 months from now what they’re doing at 400G with seven nanometres, they’ll be able to do at 800G with five nanometres.

The approach Ribbon is advocating is what’s called modular C+L band, which means buying a C-band amplifier, which has the hooks in place to add L-band amplifiers when they’re needed. That way, companies don’t have to pay for the L-band stuff until they’re ready to incorporate them, which could be a few years down the road. This is a bit trickier, however, because when you add the L-band on you want to make sure it doesn’t affect the traffic on the C-band, so you have to equalise that quickly. If you don’t do this, then you’re going to start getting traffic hits. However, we have some approaches that compensate for that, and that makes our approach viable. But the main message is that companies are coming up with various solutions to open up the L-band to increase the capacity on an existing fibre. So that is the other way of working around the Shannon limit - by extending the fibre capacity.

close as possible to the Shannon limit to maximise spectral efficiency, which is often called capacity-reach, or performance optimised solutions. What these solutions do is use the most advanced DSP technology, which, as emerging technology, is still not standardised as different companies have their own versions of it. Ribbon uses the latest version of transceiver technology from Acacia which we’re bringing to the market at a systems level. This technology brings the level of silicon integration down to five nanometres, which enables us to increase the baud rate to 140 gigabaud. This enables us to have wavelengths that run at 1.2T for the first time for short haul DCI, 800G up to several thousand kilometres for extended Metro, and 400G which you can take across the Pacific. This technology is meant for those applications where you need the most performance, usually where you will have very high density or where you need to go those extra few hundred kilometres with fewer wavelengths. The other kind of solution, which again, is widely deployed, which can satisfy a large number of the applications particularly for Metro distances, uses smaller pluggable transceivers. These are based on standards such as OpenROADM or OpenZR+ with multiple vendors building the pluggables to standard specifications. They’re not trying to get the maximum distance but rather optimise instead for lower cost and lower power. They’re typically running today at 64 gigabaud using a previous generation of silicon integration at seven nanometres. It can deliver 400G Metro wavelengths, that can take you 500 or 600 kilometres, which is good enough for many applications, or for long haul it can go up to 200G. Typically the technology cycle is that companies invest in the higher performance five nanometre technology first in larger form factors and then try to find a way to shrink it into smaller pluggables. Even now, there’s already in

What’s the other option?


JH The other thing which is taking place in terms of expanding fibre capacity is going from C-band to also incorporate L-band. This is taking place more on extended long-haul routes rather than Metro routes. On Metro routes, companies tend to put a lot of fibre in the ground, and if they’re running out of capacity on one fibre, they can generally find a spare fibre pair. Because 98% of the applications use the C-band today, they would just add regular C-band equipment for the wavelengths, ROADMs and amplifiers. What’s happening in long haul, which is a relative term geographically, is there aren’t necessarily always available fibres on those routes, and given it becomes very expensive to lay a new fibre, what companies are doing now is expanding the spectrum on existing fibre by adding the L-band transmission window on to the C-band. Fibre has two and a half regions in the infrared where there is a low insertion loss that are very amenable for transmitting. The L-band which is the close cousin of the C-band, is not quite as effective, but very close. There’s also the S-band but that’s used more for Coarse DWDM, but extending from C-band to L-band, which can be used for DWDM, there’s various ways of doing it. One way to do it is to buy equipment that provides C-band plus L-band from day one on the same fibre, which run parallel with each other. There’s two sets of amplifiers, the C-band and the L-band amplifiers, but one of the challenges with that approach is you need to install them all on day one, although the L-band capacity may not be needed at that time.

Thank you.


Jonathan Homa, Senior Director, IP Optical Solutions Marketing, Ribbon Communications



ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023

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ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023


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High-speed communications with the latest optical transceiver from Hamamatsu Photonics Hamamatsu Photonics designs, manufactures and markets photonic components for fiber-optic communication. This includes transmitter photo ICs which are integrated with a light emitter and a driver circuit as well as receiver photo ICs which are integrated with a light sensor and signal processing circuit, capable of a maximum data transmission speed of 150 Mbps. Recently, we introduced new optical transceivers that deliver higher-speed data communication and include optical connectors that couple to standard optical fibers.

3. Small size and low cost Along with the state-of-the-art lens design optimized for optical fiber coupling, we adopted the passive alignment method to achieve a small size and low cost. 4. High reliability The P16671-01AS offers a high degree of reliability for stable operations over a long period of time, which is achieved through our know-how and high standards in production and quality control. Practical applications of the P16671- 01AS include short-distance board- to-board communications using POF in equipment such as semiconductor manufacturing equipment, scientific and laboratory instruments, and measuring instruments as well as image and video transmission in

medical equipment. When used with HPCF or large-diameter glass optical fibers, medium-to-long distance communication and networking between equipment is possible up to distances of 100 meters. Therefore, using the P16671-01AS in conjunction with a suitable optical fiber will achieve high-speed communication spanning a wide range of applications. We will keep delivering further increases in transmission speed while expanding our product lineup by providing products in various configurations and taking further steps to meet market needs. Please contact Hamamatsu Photonics to discuss the P16671-01AS and how we can work together to achieve your optical communication needs.

Hamamatsu Photonics has developed an optical transceiver P16671-01AS that achieves fiber-optic communications at a data transmission speed of 1.25 Gbps. Compared to our previous optical link products whose maximum data transmission speed is 150 Mbps, the P16671-01AS offers a significantly higher speed. It also provides standard- compliant optical connectors that attach to the preferred optical fibers, depending on the application. P16671-01AS consists of an optical transmitter for converting electrical signals into optical signals, an optical receiver for converting optical signals into electrical signals, and lens/connector assemblies for connecting to optical fibers. Unlike our current transmitter photo ICs that use an LED as the light emitter, the P16671-01AS optical transceiver uses a vertical-cavity surface- emitting laser (VCSEL) to further increase the data transmission speed. It also uses a high-speed light sensor and a signal processing IC that maximizes the sensor performance. MAIN FEATURES OF P16671-01AS OPTICAL TRANSCEIVER: 1. Fiber-optic communication at a transmission speed of 1.25 Gbps We designed and developed a 1.25-Gbps optical transceiver by utilizing a high- speed light emitter and sensor, combined with semiconductor integrated circuits that maximize the performance of those optical components. 2. Compatible with POF, HPCF, and glass optical fibers The use of standard-compliant optical connectors allows fiber-optic communication spanning a wide range of applications using inexpensive Plastic Optical Fiber (POF), Hard Polymer Cladding Fiber (HPCF) and large-diameter glass optical fibers for communication at distances up to 100 meters, making it ideal for setting up a network or communicating between devices or equipment.

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ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023



Since its emergence in the late 2000s, coherent optical technology has revolutionised optical transport over long-haul, submarine, data centre interconnect (DCI), and metro networks, enabling huge increases in wavelength speed, spectral efficiency, and fibre capacity,

writes Paul Momtahan , Director, Solution Marketing, Infinera M ore recently, CMOS process node evolution and diverse market requirements have led the coherent optical engine performance segment evolve beyond the current 800 Gbps per wavelength

within 1 or 2 dB of the Shannon limit, the theoretical maximum spectral efficiency. But how much closer to the Shannon limit can we get? Next-generation embedded engines such as Infinera’s ICE7 improve spectral efficiency with features such as a continuous baud rate tuneability and a tighter roll-off. Continuous baud rate tuneability enables the wavelength’s spectrum to align with the available ROADM passband more closely, and to more optimally target a given link’s OSNR margin, which can be especially valuable in submarine applications. A tighter roll- off reduces the amount of additional spectrum required to accommodate the slopes and modes at the sides of the wavelength, enabling wavelengths to be packed closer together. Beyond ICE7, Infinera is developing enhanced algorithms for forward error correction (FEC), nonlinear compensation, and PCS to address the potential for spectral efficiency improvements of around 20%. For example, a recent Infinera trial with Australia-Japan Cable leveraging next- generation algorithms showed a 17% increase in capacity.

generation based on 7nm CMOS digital ASIC/DSP technology and 90 to 100 Gbaud photonics? In order to answer this question, it is important to start with the typical priorities for network operators in the long-haul and submarine applications for which high-performance embedded engines are typically the form factor of choice. These priorities include maximising fibre capacity, reducing cost, power consumption and footprint, and minimising operational costs. IMPROVED SPECTRAL EFFICIENCY Maximising fibre capacity is often the number one metric for long haul and submarine networks. One way to do this is with improved spectral efficiency, maximising the bps/Hz for a given reach/ path requirement to get the maximum capacity out of the available spectrum. Today’s 7nm embedded engines, such as Infinera’s ICE6, leverage multiple advanced features such as 64QAM- based probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) and Nyquist subcarriers to get

market to bifurcate into two distinct segments, high performance embedded optical engines and compact coherent pluggables, as shown in Figure 1. Both types of optical engines have the same basic architecture as shown in Figure 2. However, coherent DSP designers have built ASICs optimised for low-power consumption and small footprint, with the current 7nm CMOS generation enabling 400 Gbps in QSFP- DD, OSFP, and CFP2 pluggable form factors. Meanwhile, high-performance engines leverage larger, more powerful, and more power-hungry digital ASICs able to deliver the highest possible baud rates and advanced features that maximise wavelength capacity-reach and spectral efficiency. These high- performance engines are embedded in transponders and are the form factor of choice for long-haul and submarine applications. But how will the high-

Figure 1 - Coherent Bifurcation: High-performance Embedded and Compact Pluggables.


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Figure 2 - Generic Coherent Engine Architecture.

INCREASED TERRESTRIAL FIBRE CAPACITY In addition to incremental spectral efficiency gains, for terrestrial applications next-generation high- performance engines are also evolving to make use of more spectrum. For example, while Infinera’s ICE6 can also leverage the L-band for a total of up to 80+ Tbps per fibre pair, Infinera’s ICE7 with Infinera’s widely tuneable super-C and super-L indium phosphide-based transmit receive optical sub-assemblies (TROSAs) are able to leverage the additional spectrum provided by the Infinera GX optical line system to enable up to 100+ Tbps on a single fibre pair. Longer term, additional spectrum might be provided by also leveraging the S-band. For submarine networks, space- division multiplexing (SDM), which offers more fibre pairs and lower capacity per individual fibre but greater capacity per cable within the same cable power constraints, is becoming the preferred approach to increase capacity. Infinera’s next-generation high-performance engines will build on the industry-leading SDM feature set of ICE6. REDUCED COST, POWER, AND FOOTPRINT Minimising the cost, watts, and rack units per Gbps for a given reach/path requirement is also a high priority for long-haul and submarine applications. To date, the primary way of achieving this has been with higher baud rates. Higher baud rates increase wavelength- capacity-reach by leveraging lower- order modulation to achieve the same data rate. Lower-order modulations benefit from greater Euclidean distance between constellation points, making them easier to distinguish in the presence of noise. Embedded baud rates have evolved from around 30 Gbaud (100 Gbps then 200 Gbps per wavelength) to 90-100 Gbaud (800 Gbps per wavelength). Leveraging 5nm CMOS technology and Infinera’s seventh generation indium phosphide photonic

integrated circuit (PIC) technology, ICE7, with up to 148 Gbaud, enables cost and watts per bit savings of up to 33% relative to ICE6. But how much further can the industry evolve in terms of baud rates? In terms of the DSP, the CMOS industry has a roadmap through 2034 that will enable increased DSP baud rates, with 2 nm DSP ASICs expected in 2026/2027 and a further reduction (1.5 nm or 1.4 nm) in the future. In terms of modulator materials, while silicon photonics is limited to approximately 140 Gbaud, indium phosphide has a path to baud rates well beyond 200 Gbaud. Alternative high baud rate modulators, including those based on thin film lithium niobate and plasmonics, are at various stages of research and development but are currently largely unproven at volume. At industry conferences such as OFC and ECOC, novel material including plasmonic modulators and graphene photodetectors offer a possible road to terabaud (1,000 Gbaud) coherent. And while these baud rates might or might not be technically feasible, the other question for the industry is whether they are economically viable. For example, is it more cost-effective to have fewer, more expensive components or a larger number of less expensive components? REDUCED COST, POWER, AND FOOTPRINT WITH INTEGRATION AND VOLUME Other levers for reducing cost, power, and footprint include photonic integration, digital integration, and volume. Photonic integration, putting more optical components on a single photonic chip, continues to be a valuable approach to reducing cost and footprint. Digital integration, putting more functions into the digital ASIC/DSP, is another approach. In the past, functions such as forward error correction, framing, multiplexing, and encryption have been integrated into the digital ASIC, with additional functional integration an additional option for

cost, power, and footprint reduction in next-generation high-performance engines. One additional approach to reducing cost is to share components with pluggable engines, thus leveraging the much higher pluggables volumes to further drive down cost. MINIMISED OPERATIONAL COSTS An additional priority for many operators is minimising lifecycle operational costs. Maximising wavelength capacity- reach with higher baud rates and other advanced features is one way to do this with fewer wavelengths to install, provision, and manage. Embedded engines are also evolving to provide better monitoring and automation. Along with monitoring the optical engines themselves, this advanced monitoring can extend to the wider optical network including the fibre plant, possibly eliminating the need for monitoring devices such as optical time-domain reflectometers. One current example of environmental monitoring with Infinera’s ICE6 is the ability to leverage state-of-polarisation data to give early earthquake/tsunami detection in subsea cables. A good automation example is self-calibration to maximise the transponder data rate based on performance measurements including the available margin. SUMMARY To summarise, high-performance embedded optical engines have a continuing role to play in long-haul and submarine networks where maximising spectral efficiency and fibre capacity are key priorities alongside minimising the cost, power, and footprint per Gbps per km, followed by reducing lifecycle operational costs. To address these goals, embedded optical engines are evolving, leveraging CMOS and photonic material improvements, with higher baud rates, the ability to leverage more spectrum, and advanced features related to FEC,

nonlinear compensation, PCS, monitoring, and automation.



ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023


ZTE’s ONTs rated “Leader” by GlobalData ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a global leading provider of information and communication technology solutions, today announced that its Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) have received the “Leader” rating in the latest Fiber To The Premises (FTTP) ratings report by GlobalData, the telecoms, software and IT service consultancy.

ONTs are a key criterion measuring a company’s competitiveness in the FTTP sector. Being rated “Leader” in the “ONT Range” metric in GlobalData’s FTTP ratings report affirmed ZTE’s leadership in the ONT product segment. As a global leader in the ONT market, ZTE has always been committed to product innovation. The company has achieved several industry firsts, including launching the world’s first 50G PON+Wi-Fi 7 ONT prototype, the industry’s first Wi- Fi 7 Fiber To The Room (FTTR) main ONT, the industry’s only whole-home triple-play FTTR solution, and the world’s first Wi-Fi Alliance EasyMesh R1/R2/

R3/R4 certified ONT products. These innovations provide strong support for fiber-based transformation and the high- quality development of home networks. ZTE offers a wide range of ONT products, catering to various needs and scenarios. The offerings support evolution

The success of ZTE ONTs can be seen in their extensive global deployment. They have been adopted by more than 300 operators in over 100 countries, including major markets like China, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Colombia. As of Q1 2023, ZTE had shipped a remarkable 390 million ONTs worldwide. ZTE’s dedication to excellence has not gone unnoticed. According to the Dell’Oro Group 1Q23 Broadband Access & Home Networking report, ZTE’s ONT market share has ranked first in the world in six of the last seven quarters, reaffirming its leading position in the industry.

from 10G Passive Optical Networking (PON) to 50G

PON at the network side and enable migration from gigabit- plus to 10G broadband at the user side. Moreover, ZTE ONTs comply with multiple Internet of Things (IoT) protocols, helping operators deliver superior home broadband services to their customers.

ABOUT ZTE: ZTE helps to connect the world with continuous innovation for a better future. The company provides innovative technologies and integrated solutions, its portfolio spans all series of wireless, wireline, devices and professional telecommunications services. Serving over a quarter of the global population, ZTE is dedicated to creating a digital and intelligent ecosystem, and enabling connectivity and trust everywhere. ZTE is listed on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges. www.zte.com.cn/global



ISSUE 34 | Q3 2023


SIXTH-GENERATION SUPER-COHERENT OPTICS: LOWERING NETWORK TCO Coherent optics provide the workhorse to enable optical transport networks to transmit data at ever-increasing speeds, powered by electronic digital signal processors (DSPs) that encode data streams into high-speed optical signals. New advances and capabilities are enabled by Moore’s Law and new silicon node geometries, allowing higher DSP speeds, lower power consumption, and advanced features. Serge Melle , Leader, Optical Networks Marketing, Nokia looks to the future. T he optical communications industry will soon see the introduction of sixth- generation coherent optics, operating at capacity with fewer coherent interfaces to continue reducing network TCO. Reducing OpEx involves various metrics, including deployment and operational costs, space needed, and power consumed. The math behind achieving this is simple: deploy fewer optics and implementation penalties and maximise performance. The DSP also implements advanced algorithms such as probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) co-optimised with high-gain forward error correction (FEC) to eke out all the remaining performance just shy of the physical

speeds of 1.2Tbps or more, over a single wavelength. These will provide the tools needed by optical network operators to efficiently scale their networks to support unrelenting traffic growth, provide new benchmarks in optical performance to transport new 800 Gigabit Ethernet (800GE) services over long distances and enable sustainable network evolution by reducing network power consumption by up to 60%. Underlying the need for scale, performance and sustainability provided by sixth-generation coherent optics are the challenges faced by optical network operators today, and their need to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) in the face of continued exponential growth of network bandwidth demands; typically ranging from 35-40% YoY. This begs the question of what metrics define TCO, and how these can be reduced with new technologies. Simply speaking, TCO is primarily defined by capital costs for new equipment (CapEx) and the ongoing operating cost of that equipment (OpEx). CapEx is mainly influenced by the number of coherent optics needed for a given amount of capacity deployed; often described as “cost per bit.” Previously, advances in coherent modem algorithms and modulation order helped increase the data-carrying capacity of coherent optics faster than the increases in the operating speed of their DSPs. However, further increases in total fibre capacity are limited by the Shannon Limit, and spectral efficiency (SE), or how many bits can be sent through a given amount of fibre spectrum, has stalled at approximately 8 bits per second per Hertz (bps/Hz) with little room for further meaningful increases. New innovations are therefore needed to allow network operators to add more

fewer technicians are subsequently needed for initial installation, ongoing maintenance and supervision. Likewise, higher-density systems enable more capacity to be deployed in a rack, reducing space costs. The most important is power consumption. Specifically, reducing the power per bit of coherent optics delivers bottom-line benefits by reducing ever-increasing electricity costs not just for powering the optics, but also for the building cooling systems where they are deployed. This has made network power efficiency a key part of network operators’ ESG and sustainability strategies. The need for ever-greater network bandwidth is also driving the evolution of IP networks to faster router interface speeds. With 400 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces now widely deployed, and network operators starting to migrate to 800GE router port speeds, network operators require efficient means to transport high-speed services across all applications including metro, long-haul and subsea links. HOW IS COHERENT TECHNOLOGY CONTINUING TO EVOLVE? The latest generation of coherent optics will help optical network operators address these challenges with multiple technological innovations. Optimised to enable the maximum capacity and the longest reach for challenging applications, they are also sometimes termed “super- coherent” optics due to their performance. The latest super-coherent optics leverage 5nm silicon ASIC technology to increase DSP operating speeds to 130Gbaud or more, while closely integrating the DSP with silicon photonics into a multi-chip module (MCM) to reduce

maximum of the Shannon Limit. Together, these enable super-coherent optics to operate at 1.2Tbps per wavelength in 150GHz WDM channel spacings, or at higher speeds using more spectrum. Beyond simply pushing the envelope on capacity-reach performance, the latest generation of coherent optics also adds interesting new features, such as continuous baud rate adjustment, which enables the DSP to transmit the greatest number of bits in the least amount of spectrum across any link, no matter the distance. This is especially valuable in subsea or long-haul cables operated in a “gridless” configuration and allows the greatest total capacity to be transmitted over scarce fibre resources. Another useful feature is the ability to obtain rapid telemetry information from the DSP to provide real-time data on the fibre’s transmission characteristics and on the signals carrying the data. This provides detailed performance and localisation information on developing network faults and reduces the need for separate test equipment such as OTDRs. Combined with intelligent network automation software, network operators can more quickly, easily and proactively identify network faults, and initiate needed corrective actions. ULTIMATE CAPACITY FOR METRO DCI One common application for coherent optics is for optical data center interconnection (DCI), enabling Terabits of data to be exchanged between large data centers, peering points and internet exchanges. A key challenge faced by data center operators is maximising the capacity of their DCI connections in the face of surging demand, which is expected


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