Spring 2018 Optical Connections Magazine

ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018









4 Industry News 14 Matthew Peach OFC Expands 16 John Williamson 18 Ellen Manning Testing Times 22 Antony Savvas Delivering Optimised Network Design 24 Juan Manuel Perez Cortijo Fibre Innovations 26 John Williamson Keeping The Show On The ROADM 30 Matthew Peach Silicon Photonics: Bigger Is Better 32 Antony Savvas Software Marching On 34 Howard Forryan Optical Fibre Assembly 36 Event Focus 38 Product Focus Life In The Fast Lane

As the communications industry prepares to meet and greet at the year’s first wave of international expos and events, Optical Connections looks at the hot topics that will be discussed in the exhibition aisles and conference rooms at the likes of OFC, PIC International and Data Centre World. So this issue is designed to complement these events with its mix of technology trend reviews, market analysis and applications coverage. As ever, we have numerous recent application reviews and product announcements – with even more available on our sister website. Our OFC preview feature says this year’s biggest industry event is expecting more than 15,000 attendees and at least 700 exhibitors. OFC’s 1100-plus conference sessions will tackle data-centre connectivity, 5G-oriented optical networking, quantum-scale and cloud computing, and the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in optical networks. These events will be looking at the implications of the fast-evolving 400G networks. In “Life In The Fast Lane”, John Williamson considers the new approaches and challenges linked to upping the optical capacity ante. Inevitably, higher transmission rates means better testing approaches and systems are required, as Ellen Manning finds in “Testing Times”. Similarly, how is the industry tackling optical network design and trac management to deliver faster speeds over longer distances and for new services? Antony Savvas looks at how network design is being optimised to maximise trac flexibility. Corning, a key exhibitor at many of these events, is providing the infrastructure for many of these high-speed networks. Juan Manuel Perez Cortijo, the company’s EMEA Marketing Director, reviews recent fibre innovations and looks at how such developments can boost bandwidth and cut signal error. Looking at recent innovations in ROADMs, John Williamson finds that the use of SDN is enabling operators to control ROADMs in terms of end-to-end connectivity, virtualised protection, restoration management and bandwidth management. A new take on the increasingly ubiquitous technology of silicon photonics is described in “Bigger is better” – a surprising proposal from Rockley Photonics, first presented at Photonics West 2018 in January, which says that to optimise performance in optical communications device structures should be bigger rather than smaller to match the scale of infrared wavelengths. If you happen to be at OFC 2018 in reliably sunny San Diego, the Optical Connections team will also be in attendance, so please visit us on stand 4803 and let us know what you are doing. It’s showtime

Matthew Peach Contributing Editor, Optical Connections

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ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018

“It will be challenging for current generation systems to achieve 400G/lambda over long haul and marine distances.”


JohnWilliamson – see page 16

Big data: Cleareon have purchased an additional 20,000 square feet of New York City metropolitan space

Cleareon expands further to support New York 5G

Cleareon is helping to ready New York for 5G and improved IoT connectivity with the acquisition of extra data centre network edge capacity. The new assets are bringing more than 20,000 square feet of extra metro edge data centre space to the company’s portfolio of access solutions. The New York- headquartered firm provides services around wholly- owned fibre infrastructure and optical interconnectivity. The new assets within the New York City metropolitan Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), together with collaborators from the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, have developed a system to convert one wavelength of light into another without the need to phase-match. The converter relies on a metasurface, consisting of an array of silicon

even data centre services. We’re oering premium access solutions while readying NYC for 5G, IoT and other promising wireless- enabled applications – right now.” Cleareon’s data centre expansion has also enabled the company to expand its cloud networking options to include a set of hybrid solutions across cloud, multi- cloud, co-location and bare metal, all provided via SSAE16/ SOC1&2/PCI/ HIPAA/HITECH compliant facilities across New York City. while being confined inside a waveguide,” explained Cheng Wang, co-first author of the paper and Postdoctoral Fellow at SEAS. “In this way, we take advantage of both the momentum control from the metasurface and a long interaction distance.” The researchers demonstrated that they could double the frequency of a wavelength, converting near infrared colours to red, with high eciency over a broad bandwidth.

area, from undisclosed sellers, come after Cleareon’s purchase of other network capacity in the city last year. DENSIFICATION “This latest deal positions Cleareon to take advantage of densification opportunities in the NYC area,” said the company, “and provides additional connectivity to numerous carriers and wireless service providers”. Supported by extra dense fibre infrastructure, roof rights and power plants, Cleareon says the acquisition oers nanostructures, integrated into a lithium niobate waveguide. The light passes through waveguide, interacting with the nanostructures along the way. The array of nanostructures act like a TV antenna – receiving the optical signal, manipulating its momentum and re-emitting it back into the waveguide. “For any wavelength conversion process to be ecient, it has to be carefully designed to phase-match,

wider interconnectivity and front-haul support for DAS, small cell and other wireless systems, such as 5G-enabled applications, the IoT and big data transport. Cli Kane, Co-CEO at Cleareon, said: “As with our 2017 acquisition, these assets complement Cleareon’s existing dark fibre and lit services portfolio by strengthening our position at the ‘intelligent edge’ of networking technology and service deployment. “We aren’t simply oering dark fibre or lit services or and it only works at a single wavelength,” said Mark Loncar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering at SEAS and senior author of the paper. “The devices shown in this work, in contrast, do not need to satisfy the phase-matching requirement, and can convert light in a broad colour range.” “Unlike most metasurfaces, where light travels perpendicularly to the metasurface, here light interacts with the metasurface

Light colours changed without phase-matching


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Slice of light: Vodafone Ireland and Huawei partition FTTH access

software systems, and can be separately managed and configured. “Vodafone has deployed several FTTH networks around the world, and many of these are with partners,” points out Matt Beal, Director of Strategy & Architecture, Vodafone Group Technology. “Virtualisation of the fixed access network will help us build and fill FTTH networks in a more cost-eective way that takes advantage of new operating models where both Vodafone and its deployment partners are able to dierentiate their services over the shared fibre infrastructure. customers with an unrivalled network experience and preparing our networks for future growth.” Serge Willenegger, Senior VP and General Manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IoT, Qualcomm Wireless, commented, “By setting this major industry milestone, we’re helping operators fully home networking with data rates of up to 1 Gbps and operations over three types of legacy wires: telephone wiring, coaxial cables and power lines. A single G.hn semiconductor device is able to network over any of the supported home wire types. Frank Schwammberger, industry executive at IBM, said: “The scale of this project, combined with the fact that it will be operating over a high performance network, makes it one of the leading projects in the industry, and a great example of true broadband implementation of IoT.” Around 33m customers purchase gas and electricity from E.ON. mobilize their spectrum assets and maximize the capacity of their Gigabit LTE networks and allowing mobile device makers to oer consumers a preview of new services soon expected to be enabled with 5G networks.”

equipment requirements for Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) have only recently been standardised by the Broadband Forum in its TR-370 Technical Report, which was led by Vodafone Group. The virtual access network trial was carried out on Huawei’s MA5800, a new- generation smart Optical Line Terminal (OLT). The MA5800 uses a distributed architecture, similar to a core router, which can partition a physical OLT into multiple logically-independent virtual OLTs. Dierent logical

Vodafone and Huawei have conducted a successful field trial of fixed access network slicing. The test was carried out at Vodafone Ireland with Huawei teams supporting the joint initiative. Separate consumer and enterprise

virtual network slices were created on a live FTTH network. The consumer slice carried broadband Internet and Vodafone TV services whereas the enterprise slice carried OneNet business services, including voice. The architecture and

OLTs have independent hardware resources and

Telstra, Ericsson, QualcommandNetgear achieve 2Gigabit 4G speeds in live demo

A consortium of optical telecoms and mobile technology firms Telstra, Ericsson, Netgear and Qualcomm Technologies have achieved what they call “record-breaking 4G speeds of up to 2 Gigabits per second” in recent lab testing using a new commercially- announced chipset. The top speeds are made possible using Ericsson’s

Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, the world's first-announced Category 20 LTE modem. Telstra’s Group Managing Director of Networks Mike Wright commented, “Following Telstra’s world first Gigabit-enabled network launch in 2017, we are delighted to again be partnering with Ericsson and Qualcomm to double these speeds. This achievement demonstrates our continued LTE innovation, providing our

LTE network software. The high speeds are enabled by aggregating five 20 MHz LTE carriers across three dierent frequency bands with each carrier using 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM technologies. The February 2018 demonstration saw 2Gbps speeds achieved by aggregating 100MHz of spectrum across the bands 1, 3 and 7, using a NETGEAR Nighthawk mobile router equipped with Qualcomm

Baseband 6630, Radio 4415, and latest Gigabit

E.ON uses broadband over powerline to deliver IoT smart metering

International energy utility E.ON is now using broadband over powerline as a key communications technology to deliver smart metering connections to customers in Germany. E.ON has chosen Corinex as its solution provider for an initial two year deployment.

be used to manage the network. Elmar Peine, responsible for telecommunication infrastructure at E.ON in Germany, said: “After extensive field trials, we found that Corinex broadband over powerline technology meets our requirements for the mass roll-out of smart metering services. ‘INDUSTRY STANDARDISATION’ “We are convinced BPL is ideally suited to address the needs of many other utilities, so E.ON is interested

in supporting BPL industry standardisation in order to create a broad ecosystem of silicon and system vendors.” Peter Sobotka, CEO of Corinex, said: “We are part of an E.ON technology strategy, addressing the advanced German energy market, leading in penetration of renewables, the toughest security requirements and sophisticated load management designed for each household. Corinex, building on its leadership in BPL, is also committed to bringing in G.hn for utilities.” G.hn is a specification for

The deployment will see tens of thousands of repeaters and head ends providing secure communications for

200,000 households as part of the major BPL roll-out. Corinex Grid Value network management based on the IBM Tivoli platform will



ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018

“We had been living in a networking world dominated by hardware, but we now have SDN.”


Antony Savvas – see page 22

CommScope and OFS extend long-term fibre partnership

CommScope and OFS have announced the extension of their long- term fibre partnership. As both companies invest in capacity to address the strong demand for more bandwidth, they have entered into a new eight- year partnership to help ensure the availability of OFS optical fibre supply to CommScope for use in its customers’ networks. “OFS values our long- standing partnership with CommScope and supports their global operations with a multi-sourced contract from our optical fibre facilities in the United States, Europe and Japan,” said Pierre Marty, senior vice president, Global The Indian Government has achieved a significant milestone in its BharatNet programme, completing Phase 1 of the project with the connection of over 100,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs, or village/small town councils) across the country with a high speed optical fibre network. The landmark figure was achieved on 31st December last year. At a ceremony marking the event, Union Minister for Communications Shri Manoj Sinha said that the vision and the mission of the country was to connect India to realise the goal of the Prime Minister’s Digital India by bridging the

fibre for development of innovative fibre cabling products for global wireline and wireless networks,” said Jaxon Lang, senior vice president and Connectivity Solutions segment leader, CommScope. “Service providers and enterprises are

Marketing and Sales at OFS. “The OFS investment to increase manufacturing capacity was welcome news to our customers with the requirements of 5G, FTTx, Node-Plus-Zero, and Internet of Things consuming bandwidth and driving build-outs globally. The OFS innovations in fibre optics can support this breadth of reach from fibre for traditional outside plant applications, to 200 micron fibre helping to ease installation in existing crowded duct networks, to bend insensitive fibre to connect the home, businesses and wireless cells.” “Through this agreement, CommScope secures access to a premier supply of optical digital divide. Describing BharatNet as the world’s largest rural broadband project yet created, Shri Sinha said that the project would generate massive employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly, in the country in the near future. He underlined the need to complete Phase 2 of the BharatNet well before the target date of March 2019 and so usher in a rural digital revolution by connecting 250,000 GPs with broadband networking. The Minister asked Government ocials to include and enforce financial incentives facilitating the speedy execution of Phase 2 of the project and said that

pushing fibre connectivity deeper into their networks to address the growing need for speed and capacity. We are pleased to continue our relationship with OFS in the supply of optical fibre — it is an important part of our growing fibre connectivity

Rolling: OFS will continue to supply Commscope with fibre.

commercial building, campus and data centre networks around the world.“

business that supports wireless, broadband,

India lights up rural communities

the infrastructure created under BharatNet would be a national asset, accessible on a non-discriminatory basis by service providers. The project aims to provide aordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with States and the private sector. The next phase of the scheme envisages delivery of high-speed broadband services in over 250,000 villages benefitting, more than 200 million rural Indians. TEJAS COMPLETES 40,000 INSTALLATIONS In a related development,

indigenous networking and optical aggregation system supplier Tejas

Networks reported that it had successfully completed GPON equipment installations in over 40,000 GPs as part of the BharatNet Phase 1 initiative. According to Indian Government figures, at the end of May 2014 when work on BharatNet had started in 4,918 GPs, 358 km of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) had been pulled and 59 GPs were made service ready. At the end of December 2017, 254,895 km of OFC had been laid covering 109,926 GPs, out of which 101,370 GPs had been made service ready.

Rural life: Over 100,000 Indian villages are now connected to high speed fibre networks.


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ANN_ingenieur_93x250_jan_2018.qxp_jan_2017 31.01.18 08:50 Page1


Brazil joins the party: Interoute will open their first South American site in São Paulo.

Interoute heads to São Paulo

Interoute has announced the launch of new services in São Paulo, Brazil. The site is Interoute’s first in South America and will deliver a range of connectivity solutions, as well as host a new Interoute Virtual Data Centre zone. This latest addition builds on the company’s existing Americas presence in Los Angeles, Miami, New York andWashington. Paulo provides an entry point into the rapidly developing emerging markets in South America. The city is ranked by the Global Cities Index as the South American leader in business activity. “The economic As customer demand for Interoute’s services continues to grow, São powerhouse of South America is increasingly important to our global customer base, with São Paulo in particular becoming a magnet for cloud and SaaS,” said Mark Lewis, EVP of Products and Development at Interoute. ‘CLOUD AND SDWAN FOR NEWCONTINENT’ “Strategically, this is a

significant development for the Interoute Enterprise Digital Platform as it brings our cloud and SD-WAN capabilities to a whole new continent.

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from SaaS providers and hosted in dispersed data centre locations around the globe; regional presence is key to accelerating that performance across our low-latency SDN core network.” The new site in South America demonstrates Interoute’s commitment to increasing its global footprint by adding yet another continent to its platform reach, following its recent announcement for Sydney, Australia. With services in São Paulo set to go live in the first half of 2018, Interoute’s global network will now connect 128 major cities across 31 countries on 5 continents. Interoute oers a global ICT infrastructure platform that supports the secure integration of enterprise legacy IT with digital environments.

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ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018



ZION flyin’ as Italian highway hits 200 Gbits/s

Backbone to the future: Nokia replacing Telenor optical core network

Italian wholesale network reseller Open Fiber has reported the successful completion of tests on its ZION photonic backbone network. The tests on ZION, billed as Italy’s first scalable 200 Gbits/s long haul network, were conducted on the Rome to Florence section of the infrastructure. ZION is also the first Italian optical network to use Huawei’s ROADM and Flex Grid solutions. The passive optical fibre infrastructure is provided by energy group Terna. According to Open Fiber, the significance of ZION lies not only in its capacity of 200 Gbits/s per optical channel, but also in its scalability: with a simple software command, ZION can transmit data at 100, 200 and even 400 Gbits/s, depending the needs of the managed service and the conditions of the optical link. The network is expected to enter service at the end of March. “Where typically the big

fibre links stop at 40 Gbits/s in Italy, we are the first in Italy and among the first in Europe to achieve these performances”, explains Stefano Paggi, Director of Network & Operations Cluster C and D of Open Fiber. With the Flex Grid product it will be possible to aggregate multiple optical channels simultaneously on a single optical fibre and therefore manage more and more customers and services. This will additionally point the way to enabling Open Fiber to fully exploit the very high transmission band of the fibre at the Terabit range. In other Open Fiber news, earlier this month the company inked an agreement with Rome-headquartered utility ACEA to begin the development of a FTTH broadband communication network that would reach 1.2 million homes and premises in the capital in 5 years. That scheme was costed at €375 million, €350 of which will be provided by Open Fiber.

Multinational telecommunications operator, Telenor, has tapped Nokia as sole supplier to replace its legacy optical core network connecting 200 nodes in Norway and Sweden. The new optical network will feature Nokia’s coherent optical transmission technology. Built on the Finnish company’s solutions with advanced wavelength routing (Colourless Directionless Contentionless network management and automation. The network offers an SDN-ready platform that will provide Telenor with a more efficient way to automate, optimise and assure network services. Nokia stressed the network, bringing the total number of countries in the network to 45. The network currently serves around 803m people and covers 3.8m sqkm. With these latest additions, French-headquartered Sigfox says it is on track to achieve its aim of extending the network across 60 countries and regions and reaching 1bn people in 2018. The new countries are served by operators that will become Sigfox’s exclusive strategic partners, responsible for deploying the network in their territories, developing the Sigfox ecosystem and establishing support channels to address all industry verticals. OPERATORS In Asia, these new operators are Xperanti in Malaysia and Flexible Grid, or CDC-F), it will allow for greater flexibility and dynamic robustness of the new backbone, with many operations having been

certified as compliant with ISO27001 information security standards and, in other cases, having satisfactorily demonstrated conformance to those standards. Nicolas Almendro, Head of Europe & MEA Optics Business Development at Nokia, said “We are excited to be chosen for this multi- year turnkey project. This highly resilient and secure optical backbone will play a critical role in deploying next-generation services to Telenor customers in Norway and Sweden, and help the customer prepare for the demands of 5G.” Nokia’s optical technology is designed to pave the way for SDN-ready dynamic network capabilities and its multi- Terabit capacity will support evolution to 5G mobile, growing consumer demand for online video and Internet usage, and the increasing use of cloud applications. IoTnet in Hungary; and iWire in the UAE is a new Middle East partner. Rodolphe Baronnet-Frugès, executive vice president of operators at Sigfox, said: “We have already started to collaborate with our new partners to expand the power of our LPWAN and strengthen our ecosystem. “It’s another major step that reinforces our strong, unique position in the IoT market. These new partnerships take us a step closer to our goal of creating a worldwide network able to support business both locally and globally, thanks to an extensive network of business partners.” Sigfox says its global network is designed to provide energy-efficient and cost-effective connectivity,

Sigfox global IoT sprawl extends to another five countries Global IoT service provider Sigfox has added five new countries to its global Amotech in South Korea. In Europe, they are Heliot in Switzerland and Omnicell areas and main transport/ communications links. Supply chain, transportation,

allowing companies to generate additional revenues, by not only improving their performance but creating new business models too. The new national roll-

energy management, oil and gas, food, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and telecare, among other sectors, are all being targeted in the new regions.

outs have already begun and will initially include all urban and industrial

‘Sencrop’ is a Sigfox IoT-enabled system that supports farming.



ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018

“The industry faces a question: what makes for a leading photonics platform? Perhaps bigger is better.”


Matthew Peach – see page 30

Axetris increases speed of TOSA/ ROSAs and silicon photonics

The increasing number and size of datacentres, as well as the transition to next generation 5G networks, requires the deployment of ever increasing numbers of transceivers and other high speed data and telecom components. Cost pressure is also increasing and this trickles down the supply chain to

elements, both in silicon and fused silica. In addition, processing capabilities allow further implementation of features, such as metallisation (alignment marks or solder pads), mechanical features, precise edges or DRIE structures, which helps to improve the assembly process steps and reduce overall component assembly costs.

Wafer-based manufacturing enables the company to scale to high volumes, at low cost and therefore oers competitive alternatives to known solutions, such as moulded lenses.The company serves customers with a wide range of micro-optics products, from refractive micro lenses and lens arrays to diractive optical

the individual parts making up the TOSAs and ROSAs. The Axetris manufacturing process, which is based on lithography and etching, achieves the high lens quality needed for coupling to single mode fibres or waveguides, as well as the precise lens

placement required to match fibre, waveguides or photodiode arrays.

The need for speed: Axetris’ micro- lenses and lens arrays are designed for high-speeds

Intelligent fibre duct fault detection system now available in Europe

Risk cutting: FiSpy removes the risk of incorrect identification and cutting of ducts.

The European distribution rights of FiSpy, an innovative new product which uses smart technology to detect micro duct faults, have been awarded to Emtelle. FiSpy, developed by New Zealand-based FiComms, uses a patented process to identify a micro duct or micro ducts within a multi duct environment. This removes the risk of incorrect identification and cutting of ducts, reducing the time and cost currently spent on fault finding.

“Maintaining a reliable fibre network is essential and detecting network problems quickly and eciently is crucial when it comes to minimising downtime, and reducing installation time,” said Scott Modha, “Previously, this might have involved a large workforce manually looking for the fault but FiSpy takes the guesswork out of fault finding and lessens the labour involved, generating International Business Development Manager at Emtelle.

immediate cost savings for our customers and reducing the likelihood of expensive

reworks in the future.” Other benefits of the FiSpy include low cost

of ownership and maintenance, high

user-friendliness and easy transportation, with the product featuring a compact design, interchangeable head sizes (5mm, 7mm and 8mm), an IP67 ruggedised case, simple LED indication and one- button operation.


| ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018



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Ericsson ready to support 5G services

Ericsson has finalised its 5G-readiness for operators by enhancing its 5G Platform with new radios and updates to its core network software. The company has launched 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) commercial software,

eciency and coverage. Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of business area networks at Ericsson, said: “Operators who want to be early with 5G now have the essential pieces for launching 5G networks already this year. With our expanded platform, they will get more ecient networks as well as opportunities to create new revenues from emerging consumer and industrial use cases.” Giovanni Ferigo, CTO of Italian mobile operator TIM, said: “Ericsson is an important enabler of our 5G in-field innovation activities that span several cities in Italy. Together, last December – marking an Italian record - we activated a 5G NR cell in the mmW frequencies in the city of Turin, reaching speeds above 20Gbps. We look forward to testing Ericsson’s new solutions that will contribute to address the wide variety of use cases we are working on.”

and security. 5G software Available in the fourth quarter of the year, Ericsson’s new 5G radio network core software provides multi-band support for global deployment. It will allow operators to use new frequency spectrum as it becomes available. According to Ericsson’s economic study of enhanced mobile broadband, the evolution to 5G will enable 10 times lower cost per gigabyte than current 4G. The new Street Macro radio oering will be placed on

New Radio (NR) standard. It has also introduced a new category of radio product called Street Macro, which addresses the need of operators to grow in cities with limited available radio locations. Ericsson introduced its 5G Platform in February 2017 with additions made in September the same year. It comprises the

based on the recently approved first 3GPP 5G

5G core, radio and transport portfolios together with OSS/BSS, network services

building facades, oering a smaller footprint but the necessary strength to secure network

Ericsson has enhanced 5G Platformwith new radios and updates to the core network software.


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Megaport router enables Layer 3 connectivity

Global Network as a Service (NaaS) provider, Megaport, has launched its Megaport Cloud Router, a virtual router service that enables customers to rapidly and privately connect at Layer 3 without the need to own or manage routers or physical infrastructure. By removing administrative and ownership complexities, Megaport says it is making it easier for companies to connect to cloud services, expand their service footprint Ecosystem partners around the world without the need to physically deploy network infrastructure. “As a Network as a Service company, it’s imperative that Megaport continues to innovate solutions that abstract complexities in the network buying experience,” said Vincent English, the company’s Chief Executive Ocer. “We’ve moved further up the stack by expanding our SDN’s capabilities to address Layer 3 IP routing and support a POET well versed in optical interposers through virtual Points of Presence and peer with Optoelectronic devices developer, POET Technologies, has announced a novel optical interposer platform, which facilitates the co-packaging of electronics and optics in a single multi-chip module (MCM). Based on its previously announced dielectric waveguide technology, POET’s optical interposer provides the ability to run electrical and optical interconnections side-by- side on the same interposer chip, at a micrometre scale. The optical interposer

broader set of customers with varying technical capabilities and business needs. With Megaport Cloud Router, there’s no need for a deep understanding of Layer 3 intricacies to take advantage of IP routing features.” ‘BEYOND THE CONSTRAINTS OF PHYSICAL NETWORK’ English added, “Our customers can move beyond the constraints of their physical network and rapidly establish virtual Points of Presence to unlock unique peering and interconnection opportunities around the world. We’re excited to continue innovating new services to address new market segments and empower the next phase of cloud and network growth.” MCR provides cost savings, agility, and secure connectivity without the need for a data centre presence. The service provides the ability to connect two or more CSPs for cloud to cloud connectivity, enables packet forwarding, and empowers intelligent routing decisions. represents an integral part of POET’s hybrid integrated optical engines and leverages the manufacturing processes and unique capabilities of its dielectric waveguides. POET noted that, as the need for higher data transfer speeds at greater baud rates and lower power levels increases, optics will move increasingly closer to the source of the data, whether it be a processor, application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or field programmable gate array (FPGA). The platform enables an optoelectronic interconnect fabric to interface directly with the source of data to support high-speed optical data transfer from within the MCM and the company believe the product, targeting 100G transceiver applications, is readily scalable to 200G and 400G transceiver products with minimal incremental cost.

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ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018



Optical communications expo reports booming interest, square footage sold up by 44%. Matthew Peach reports on some highlights expected in San Diego.

10 percent over the five-year period through to 2021.”

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME OFC’s conference program oers at least 1,100 conference sessions covering the latest ground-breaking optical innovations, data-center connectivity, 5G-oriented optical networking, quantum-scale and cloud computing, and the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in optical networks. Anchoring the week-long business and technical conversations and product demos, OFC’s plenary session features three industry visionaries discussing future innovations in optics-based communication technologies: ● John Doyle, the John G Braun Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, California Institute of Technology. Doyle previews his talk thus, “Eective layered architectures such as the brain seamlessly integrate high level goal and decision making and planning with fast lower level sensing, reflex, and action and facilitate learning, adaptation, augmentation tools, and teamwork. “There will be live demos using audience’s brains highlight universal laws and architectures and their relevance to future network technologies. We’ll briefly give pointers to a new unified mathematical framework that we

O FC, North America’s – and one of the world’s – largest expos for optical communications and networking professionals, is continuing its long-term growth trajectory with more than 700 exhibitors booked and 15,000 attendees expected this year, according to organiser the Optical Society of America (OSA). Running 11-15 March at San Diego Convention Center, OFC has increased in overall square footage by 44% and experienced a 21% growth in exhibitor and attendee numbers in the past five years. Attendees get to hear the latest news and updates on groundbreaking optical communications innovations, data-centre connectivity, 5G network upgrades, and the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optical networks. “Over the last few years, we have seen significant growth on the exhibit

floor and this year’s exhibits will expand to more than 350,000 square feet,” commented Melissa Russell, Chief Industry Relations Ocer, at the OSA. “The last time OFC was in San Diego in 2010, we used only about 60% of the space in the Convention Center and in 2018 we are using all of it.” According to market research firm Ovum, the optical networking and communications market grew by 22% in the second quarter of 2017 and Ovum has forecast it to reach at least $16 billion this year. “OFC’s number of exhibiting companies has experienced the most significant growth, up 21% in just the last five years. We are encouraged to see such healthy numbers in the market,” Russell continued. Another analyst LightCounting Market Research also sees a continued growth trend in these markets recently stating that, “the total market for optical components and modules used in optical communications will grow at a compound annual growth rate of


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industry growth segments. Market Watch is a three-day, six session series of panel discussions on the latest application topics and business issues in the field of optical communications, including the popular State of the Industry Analyst Panel. The one-day Network Operator Summit presents the inside perspective from service providers and network operators; their challenges, drivers and how their requirements may impact the future of the industry. This year’s Data Center Summit session will focus on optical Interconnect technologies and markets. Panellists will debate multiple topics related to the data center and how connecting data centres poses a dierent opportunity for network operators. The OFC Open Platform Summit (OPS) Session, SDN & NFV Demo Zone, will provide attendees with the opportunity to view live demonstrations and prototypes of collaborative research projects, pre-commercial products and proof-of-concept implementations in the SDN and NFV space. HACKATHON Also returning to OFC 2018 is the interactive Lab Automation Hackathon. Technology leaders from Nokia Bell Labs, Acacia Communications and the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden will hold an interactive session demonstrating how to use open source software in easy to learn languages, such as Python, to quickly get a lab experiment running and display the measurements in a browser. More than 120 invited speakers will participate in OFC’s peer-reviewed technical program. EXHIBITION With one of the largest exhibit floors in recent years, OFC 2018 will feature more than 700 exhibitors from leading global

companies including Ciena, Coriant, Corning, Cisco, Fujitsu, Huawei, Inphi, Juniper, Macom, Mitsubishi, Nokia, Oclaro and many more. Technologies on display include network and test equipment, optical transport systems and optical components, data center interconnects, fibre cables and specialty fibre manufacturers. SNEAK PREVIEWS Ahead of this year’s event several exhibitors have made early announcements of some of the new products and systems on show and special presentations. These include: EXFO: Choosing the Best Field-Based Optical Spectrum Analyzer for Analysis of 200G/400G and Flexgrid Signals Huawei: Key Technologies in Open Optical Transmission Systems OptoTest: The Importance of Verifying a Reference Reflection for Accurate RL Measurements Go!Foton: The PEACOC V3.0 Ultra High Density Fibre Management Platform MaxLinear: Industry’s First 400Gbps PAM4 DSP SoC with Integrated Laser Drivers for Cloud Data Center and Enterprise Network Infrastructure RUMP SESSION The intriguingly named Rump Session, which takes place on Tuesday, 13 March, addresses the question: When Will Coherent Replace Direct Detection in the Data Center? Moderated by Chris Cole, of Finisar, USA, the panel session with audience participation will consider the following issues: Over time, optics has replaced copper cables starting with long reach transmission, followed by regional, metro, inter-facility, and finally all links inside the data center except for server interconnect. Even server I/O is under challenge by active optical cables. Replacement of IMDD (Intensity Modulated Direct Detection) optics by Coherent optics appears to be following the same trend, but on a delayed time line. Coherent has now replaced IMDD in long reach transmission, regional, and metro applications. Coherent vs. IMDD for 20km, 40km and 80km links at 100G and 400G is the subject of intense industry debate including in standards bodies and tough competition in the market place. Will this trend continue, and when if ever will Coherent replace IMDD for 500m, 1km and 2km data center links?

hope will facilitate reverse engineering cells, brains, and societies and forward engineering future network architectures.” ● Chengliang Zhang, Vice President, China Telecom Beijing Research Institute, China. This plenary talk will present the recent optical network evolution of China Telecom and other major Chinese network operators, which are enabled by modern technologies such as coherent 100G/200G, ROADM/WSS, transport SDN, and data center connectivity. Zhang commented, “With the intensification of cloud-based services and 5G wireless developments, we will also discuss how optical transport network (OTN) need to be transformed to better address future demands such as higher capacity, lower latency, and service-specific network slicing.” ● Marcus Weldon, President, Nokia Bell Labs, USA: Weldon is considered one of the luminaries in the industry in terms of the clarity, depth and breadth of his vision for the future of networks. He has championed many technological disruptions in telecommunications networks. These range from the evolution and convergence of networks to all IP, the interference cancellation, the evolution of wireless networks to highly-distributed networks of small cells and the emergence of virtualisation and Software Defined Networking as profound industry changing forces that will drive a new integrated and federated network architecture. SHOW FLOOR CONFERENCES The OFC conference programming located in Exhibit hall theatres includes OFC Market Watch, Network Operator Summit and 15+ programs focused on evolution of copper-based Access networks to support sophisticated

OPTICAL CONNECTIONS Besides all of this, the Optical Connections team will also be in

Opportunity: OFC 2018 delegates will benefit from literally hundreds of conference and floor presentations.

attendance, so please visit us on stand 4803 and let us know what you are doing in the optical communications sector.



ISSUE 12 | Q1 2018




As pressure mounts on networks pushing them on to 400G and more, there are several key factors, approaches and challenges linked to upping the optical capacity ante, finds John Williamson

OLD AND NEW Networks at dierent stages of development and/or maturity and geographic reach have dierent optical capacity growth priorities and options. As an example, Brandon Collings, CTO of Lumentum, points out that it will be challenging for current generation systems to achieve 400G/lambda over long haul and marine distances, and this may curb the extent to which 400G will be deployed in larger, longer reach networks. “Beyond 400G, multi-carrier superchannels are generally required for metro and longer reaches,” he observes. “Technology for implementing superchannels is essentially available now, but greater integration to improve the cost of multi-carrier transceivers will improve the attractiveness of superchannel transceivers.” A number of factors are associated with increasing transmission performance over meaningful distances, one of which is baud rate. “When increasing transmission speed from 100G to 400G-600G per wavelength, the most important innovation step is to increase or double the baud rate that current technologies have,” judges Fischer. “The side eect for doubling the baud rate is that we have to double the transmission window: generally we currently use fixed 50 GHz grids, and doubling the baud rate you will have to go up to 75 GHz grids or more flexible schemes.” In this overall environment, a flex spectrum-capable network is required. “While most new networks being deployed are fully flex spectrum-capable, a majority of deployed networks are not and therefore will not support 400G interfaces,” reasons Collings. Coherent and Direct Detection In the general framework of higher data

A s has been extensively reported, escalating global demand for cloud computing, hyperscale DataCentre Interconnect, HDTV and 4K video services and Internet TV are together pushing optical networking inexorably towards 400G and above capabilities. The upcoming arrival of 5G, with its predicted increased fronthaul and backhaul requirements, only adds to the bandwidth pressure to grow to 400G and Terabit networking. NUTS AND BOLTS Non-trivial challenges are evident at the nuts-and-bolts level of things. “The optical networking roadmap for 400G and beyond is moving to higher order modulation,” points out Siddharth Sheth, SVP, Networking Interconnect at high- speed data movement specialist Inphi Corp. “PAM and coherent will require complex Digital Signal Processing chips, high speed SerDes, higher speed lasers/ optics at 28/56 Gbaud-plus, and linear amplifiers and drivers to go along with the optics.” Sheth notes that the relentless pursuit of lower power and lower cost solutions posed by the industry further intensifies the challenge of

building those components. “Building cost- eective optical platforms with these components, and making a new generation of solutions reliably available in volume every three-to-four years, will be one of the most challenging aspects of moving the roadmap forward,” he contends. The R&D costs to develop suitable components are of some concern. These costs are increasing substantially as CMOS electronics enters the realm of 7 nm and lower. “The DSPs required to service the 400G-plus roadmap moving forward are expensive to build,” acknowledges Sheth. “The drive to the lowest dollar/Gbits/s solution and a highly fragmented market with many suppliers will make it challenging to fetch an ROI on some of these investments. “ Again, increased data rates will also bring with them more stringent Optical Signal-to Noise Ratio (OSNR) requirements. “Speeds up to 600G per wave will need an OSNR-optimised optical layer to make the most of them,” adds Uwe Fischer, Coriant Executive Vice President, R&D and PLM, and CTO. “Even more important, the many choices and the programmability of the interfaces involved cannot be harnessed without a lot of inbuilt automation and performance awareness.”


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two generations away at least. “For that remaining population, retaining these flexibilities that enable pay-as-you-grow, post deployment interface type flexibility, mixing and matching dierent interfaces, and the ability to adopt new interfaces as they are developed, is expected to be highly valued for the foreseeable future,” he concludes. FUTURE’S BRIGHT There are many views about what the future of 400G and beyond networking might look like. Included are elements such as: the transition to more DSP- based opto-electronic platforms; more M&A activity in the optical industry as we march toward Terabit; AI as an end application playing a bigger role in driving optical interconnect solutions; flex spectrum-capable networks increasing as a percentage of deployed networks; the greater use of alien wavelengths; and the emergence of optimised superchannel transceivers. Either way, and notwithstanding some significant challenges that need to be addressed, that future looks bright.

with 400G pluggables, he thinks next generation 25.6T 1RU front panels can benefit with 800G OBO type solutions as switch ICs move to 100G serial electrical I/O. “Significant power can be saved by placing optics closer to the switch IC,” comments Sheth. “Beyond that, OBO has a lot of density and power advantages to oer as long as reliability and manufacturing concerns can be addressed.” Collings thinks that, given the highly attractive flexibilities that faceplate pluggable transceivers oer, it is expected that they will continue to be dominantly utilised in nominally all interconnect applications until a tipping point is reached where implementing non-pluggable transceivers clearly provides greater benefit in terms of capability, cost, power dissipation, or density. He allows that there are some use cases, particularly hyperscale internal DCI, which may value these flexibilities less than the remaining population of applications, but expects any non- pluggable tipping point to be one or

rates, there is some industry debate about the future roles and areas of application of coherent transmission and direct detection technologies. Sheth sees dierent roles for the two at dierent distances. He reckons direct detect is still expected to dominate optical solutions at 400G and 800G for up to 10 km, and that coherent is expected to dominate optical solutions at 400G and 800G for 80 km and beyond. “Between 10 to 80 km there is expected to be some overlap at 400G,” he suggests. “At speeds greater than 800G, coherent is expected to play a bigger role even at less than 10 km.” According to Collings, there is a very significant performance, capability and cost dierence between direct detect and coherent solutions. Given this, where a direct detect approach is serviceable, coherent-based solutions are not oered. He believes that this gap isn’t likely to fully close in the near future and therefore, where direct detect solutions are acceptable, they will continue to dominate over coherent options. “That said, direct detect implementations do have some reasonably fundamental limitations and therefore cannot address many higher capacity applications where coherent dominates,” he accepts. In the context of 400G and higher networking, there is some discussion about the future facing pluggable transceivers and embedded OnBoard Optics (OBO). Conversations range around the issues of whether pluggables can continue to be extensively used as data rates continue to climb, and where and when onboard optics will start to play a major role. Fischer describes how, when moving to 100G/200G wavelengths, the use of pluggables on the line side has been widely accepted, and that one of the benefits is a very active supplier ecosystem driving down the cost of the optical components. It may be a dierent story at higher speeds. “Modulation speeds and formats bringing us to 600G per wavelength are extremely more demanding than current interface technologies,” he says. “There are well founded doubts in the industry if this could be done with pluggables. Also there is no ecosystem as of now.” Fischer reckons that one interesting development for pluggable line optics will be 400G-ZR and its vendor-specific extensions. “However, this will not cover all or even the majority of transport applications due to reach restrictions,” he argues. Sheth likewise sees embedded OBO having an important part to play as front panel densities move to 800G and beyond. While current 1RU front panel density of 12.8 T can be serviced PLUGGABLES AND ONBOARD OPTICS


Silicon photonics is viewed as part of the answer to relieving potential congestion in optical networks, and as a facilitator of the move to higher bandwidths. According to the market research and strategy consulting company Yole Développement, silicon photonics is still a small market today, with sales at die level estimated to be US$30 million in 2016. However, silicon photonics has big promise, with a 2025 market value of US$560 million at chip level and almost US$4 billion at transceiver level. In a January report – Silicon Photonics 2018 – analyst Yole says the strongest demand is for 400G and that, in parallel, 200G could be only an intermediate step between 100G and 400G. “The next evolution is to develop a 400G optical port over a single fibre across 500 metres at less than $1 per Gigabit and with power of under 5 mW/Gb”, explains Dr. Eric Mounier, Senior Technology and Market Analyst at Yole. “We believe we are only at the very beginning as there is massive ongoing development worldwide for further integration,” adds Dr. Mounier. “The recent involvement of large integrated circuit foundries, such as TSMC’s relationship with Luxtera, and GlobalFoundries with Ayar Labs, are very encouraging signs showing the big promise for silicon photonics.”

SiPh vs. optical transceiver market, in US$M

$16 000

$14 000

$12 000

$10 000

$8 000

$6 000

$4 000

$2 000

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 CAGR $0

Optical transceivers SiPh transceivers

Yole’s silicon photonics transceiver forecast



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