Optical Connections Magazine Industry Focus 2023-2024

Bringing the World the Latest in Optical Communications News


THE YEAR AHEAD What’s next for the fibre optics industry | p17

SPEEDING UP SPLICING: Faster FTTx rollouts | p18

EPIC CEO BRIEFING: Mats Hede, Hamamatsu | p20

TOP PRODUCTS IN 2023: The best of this years’ offerings | p14


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Welcome to the last edition of Optical Connections for 2023. It’s been an interesting year for sure. I’ve picked out some of the more memorable news stories and most innovative products, but it wasn’t an easy task. Looking towards 2024, I don’t expect the next 12 months to be any different, given the rate at which the fibre optic and photonics industries are progressing. Indeed, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2024, in terms of new technologies and the progress of existing ones. In this issue, we asked some industry experts to give their thoughts on the year ahead, with some interesting results. Nokia’s Serge Melle , Infinera’s Rob Shore , Ciena’s Jurgen Hatheier , and Pioneer Consulting’s Howard Kidorf share their thoughts on the year ahead. Also, in this issue’s EPIC Briefing, Hamamatsu Photonics’ Mats Hede talks about what it takes to be a successful company in today’s competitive global market. Looking back at 2023, one of the highlights of the year was ECOC 2023, which took place in Glasgow. The numbers of visitors, exhibitors and speakers were well up on last year’s levels and a number of innovative and deserving companies walked away with the ECOC 2023 Expo Industry Awards. However, ECOC is an on-going process and preparations are already well underway for ECOC 2024 Exhibition, which will be held in Frankfurt, Germany, on 23rd-25th September. At the other end of the year, following a successful 2023 event, there’s our second TOP Conference in London on 21st-22nd February to look forward to. Already, the line-up of experts from the telecoms, optics and photonics industries is impressive, so it’s an event that’s not to be missed. The team at Optical Connections and ECOC Exhibition would like to wish all our sponsors, advertisers and readers a very happy and successful 2024 and we look forward to continuing our relationships in 2024. LOTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2024


Industry News

10 Top News 2023 14 Top Products 2023 16 The Year Ahead Peter Dykes 18 Speeding Up Splicing Fujikura 20 EPIC CEO Interview Mats Hede, Hamamatsu 22 ECOC 2023 Wrap 24 ECOC 2023 Industry Awards 25 ECOC 2023 Statistics 26 TOP Conference Preview

28 OFC Preview 30 Product News

Peter Dykes Contributing Editor, Optical Connections


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Success for NASA deep space optical comms trial

Earth during its two-year technology demonstration as Psyche travels to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California manages both DSOC and Psyche. The demo achieved “first light” in the early hours of Nov. 14 after its flight laser transceiver aboard Psyche capable of sending and re- ceiving near-infrared signals, locked onto an uplink laser beacon transmitted from the Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory at JPL’s Table Mountain Facility near Wrightwood, California. The uplink beacon helped

that control the pointing of the downlink laser aboard the transceiver. Once achieved, the project can begin its demonstration of maintaining high-bandwidth data transmission from the transceiver to Palomar at various distances from Earth. This data takes the form of bits (the smallest units of data a computer can pro- cess) encoded in the laser’s photons – quantum particles of light. After a special su- perconducting high-efficien- cy detector array detects the photons, new signal-pro- cessing techniques are used to extract the data from the single photons that arrive at the Hale Telescope.

NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment has beamed a near-infrared laser encoded with test data from nearly 10 million miles (16 million kilometres) away – about 40 times further than the Moon is from Earth – to the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California. The organisation says this is the furthest- ever demonstration of optical communications. Riding aboard the recently launched Psyche spacecraft, DSOC is configured to send high- bandwidth test data to

the transceiver aim its down- link laser back to Palomar, in South Africa, while automat- ed systems on the transceiv- er and ground stations fine- tuned its pointing. Test data also was sent simultaneously via the uplink and downlink lasers, a procedure known as “closing the link” that is a primary objective for the experiment. While the tech- nology demonstration isn’t transmitting Psyche mission data, it works closely with the Psyche mission-support team to ensure DSOC op- erations don’t interfere with those of the spacecraft. With successful first light, the DSOC team will now work on refining the systems

Ultra-wideband transmission trial a success

along with a broadband O-band optical fibre amplifier (BDFA). KDDI Research, Sumi- tomo Electric, and Fu- rukawa Electric have been working toward practical application of multi-core optical fibres, which have multiple cores in a single optical fibre. In March 2023, KDDI Research, Furukawa Electric, and OFS conducted successful O-band coherent DWDM transmission experiments to utilise the O-band, which has approximately twice the transmission bandwidth of the C- and L-bands. Also in March 2023, Sumito- mo Electric presented a high-density uncoupled 12-core optical fibre with

6G era. Furthermore, the same transmission capacity can be secured with fewer fibre cores since the trans- mission capacity per optical fibre can be greatly expand- ed, and this technology is expected to enable the use of ordinary conduits and facilities with less space occupied. It adds that in the future, research and de- velopment will continue for transceivers, optical fibre amplifiers, and digital signal processing algorithms toward the practical ap- plication of ultrawideband O-band coherent DWDM transmission systems, with an aim of further increasing transmission of transmis- sion capacity between data centres.

KDDI Research, Sumitomo Electric, Furukawa Electric and OFS Laboratories, have conducted successful experiments on ultrawideband optical fibre transmission with a transmission bandwidth of 115.2 THz, which is around 24 times wider than conventional C-band, and is the world’s largest transmission capacity: 484 Tbps, over 31 km in optical fibre transmission experiments using standard optical fibre diameter. This was done by combining uncoupled optical fibre that has 12 independent cores densely arranged in a 250- μm coating, the same size as a standard optical fibre,

a coating diameter of 250 μm, the same diameter of standard optical fibres, making it ideal for creating high-density optical cables. The results were reported as a post-deadline paper at ECOC 2023. Sumitomo says that in the 6G era, it is expected that far more and diverse data will flow through net- works than at present due to the spread of IoT (Inter- net of Things) devices and mobility services, and it is essential to further expand the capacity of optical fibre communication to support networks. The success this time is in technology for supporting high-capacity, high-speed communication between data centres in the





Ciena eyes U.S. BEAD programme

Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements. Under the terms of the agreement, Flex will provide advanced manufacturing ca- pabilities, including specialised optical transceiver assembly, and supply chain services, enabling Ciena to quickly ramp high-volume production of its innovative pluggable OLTs and ONUs at scale. This U.S. expansion builds on a 20-year global relationship. As a result of its partnership with Flex, Ciena is positioned to enable U.S. network providers with greater ability to leverage the BEAD program to expand their local footprint and busi- ness opportunities. The company says adding

for service providers to build open, modular, and scalable broadband networks. “As stewards of the digital networks that underpin our lives, we are excited to announce the first U.S.-based manufacture of our unique pluggable optical line terminal solution. We take immense pride in advancing American innovation and strengthening domestic supply chains. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the NTIA and Department of Com- merce to advance its mission to connect the unconnected and create greater opportuni- ties for all communities,” com- mented Gary Smith, president and CEO, Ciena.

Ciena® is adding domestic manufacturing through an expanded agreement with global diversified manufacturer Flex. Ciena is expected to begin production of the industry’s first pluggable OLTs as well as its ONUs at a Flex factory in the U.S. in mid-2024. Advancing its commitment to roll out high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved communities, Ciena says its investments will support the U.S. government’s Broadband Equity Adoption and Deployment (BEAD) projects, create new jobs and help broadband service providers comply with the

to its existing portfolio of innovations that reduce the environmental impact of communication networks, Ciena’s pluggable OLTs greatly increase network sustainability and efficiency by connecting more homes at higher speeds per unit of power and space than competing solutions. Additionally, Ciena’s host rout- ing platforms are already 25G ready, future-proofing service provider network investment without the need for hardware replacement, further maxim- ising the solutions’ sustainable footprint. Ciena will also develop its next-generation 25GS-PON pluggable OLTs and ONUs in the U.S., provid- ing a seamless evolution path

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Bouygues taps Nokia increased capacity, efficiency

Key-coded connectors eliminate multi-fibre errors

platform, extending the network life of deployed systems while scaling capacity. Nokia will also evolve Bouygues Telecom’s existing Nokia security gateway services by deploying its FP5 powered, SR-1 routers and the 7750 Extended Services Appliance (ESA) to meet the increased capacity and scalability demands of mobile broadband services. Jean-Paul Arzel, chief tech- nology officer at Bouygues Telecom, said, “We have had a long relationship with Nokia, and we were looking for a reliable future-ready solution to help us evolve our IP network to match our growing customer base. The upgrade of our IP network with FP5 will allow us to balance capacity and sus- tainability to deliver the best customer experience.”

Nokia expands its long-term relationship with Bouygues Telecom by supplying its market-leading FP5-based IP routers to modernise the operator’s IP core network and expand the capacity of its security gateway solutions. Nokia’s solution includes its 7750 Service Router (SR) platform, which is powered by its ground- breaking FP5 routing silicon. The FP5, a key part of Bouygues Telecom’s selection, is a significant enabler for building higher- capacity IP networks that are more energy efficient.

OMC has announced a new family of key-coded SMA fibre optic connectors with “clockface” style multiple keyways in up to 50 different orientations as standard. Originally designed in response to a customer request for a keyed connector for a four- channel installation, the new family of key-coded SMA connectors overcomes installation errors by effectively engineering them out. OMC 0065plains that in a multi-channel system, the usual way of connecting each fibre optic cable to the correct transmitter or receiver on the PCB is to tag each cable with an ident sleeve and match them up based on an installation plan, but this method is by no means fool-proof, and time-consuming errors are

quite easily made. Each variation of OMC’s new family of key-coded SMA housings and connec- tors have all the benefits of the SMA connector; robustness of design, sim- plicity of installation and a secure locking nut; but also features two keyways – one master keyway at the 12 o’clock position to fix the orientation, and a second keyway which can be in one of multiple other positions around the clock to fix the channel number. Using this key-coded system, it is impossible to connect the wrong fibre optic cable to the wrong transmitter or receiver device. Connectors and device housings with custom keyway positions for greater numbers of channels are also possible on request should the application require it.

The FP5’s future-ready 800GE capability will

also accelerate Bouygues Telecom’s ability to scale and sustainably meet future traffic growth. Nokia’s system design innovation ensures an easy upgrade to FP5 from the existing FP4

QuantLR, PacketLight announce successful integration

of sensitive data, resistant to eavesdropping and hacking attempts. The collaboration between the companies was announced in February 2019, with the signing of a letter of intent. Teams at QuantLR and PacketLight worked closely to seamlessly integrate their technologies. They validated the compatibility of quantum communica- tion systems with optical networking infrastructure through rigorous testing to ensure optimal per- formance, stability, and reliability of the integrated solution. QuantLR says this integration provides unpar- alleled ease of use. Thanks to a strong emphasis on simplicity and scalability, customers can effortlessly

successful integration pro- ject paves the way for new opportunities in quantum communication. The joint solution enables customers to enjoy the highest level of secure communication with the easiest integration, and optimal cost effectiveness for a variety of use cases and network topologies. Especially in metro, last mile and other short distance setups.” “The integration of QuantLR’s technology with PacketLight’s DWDM/ OTN devices opens up new avenues for secure data transmission,” added Koby Reshef, CEO of PacketLight. “We are proud to have been a part of this project and are excited about the possibili- ties it brings to the market.”

Quantum communication and quantum key distribution (QKD) specialist QuantLR, and PacketLight Networks, which provides DWDM and OTN equipment, have successfully accomplished a quantum-safe encrypted network by integrating the QKD services provided by QuantLR with the OTN encrypted transport provided by PacketLight. QuantLR and PacketLight combined their respective technologies and expertise to enhance the efficiency, security, and scalability of quantum- safe communication networks. QuantLR’s QKD harnesses the principles of quantum physics to secure the transmission

establish a QKD network over an existing Packet- Light-supported network in under 30 minutes. The companies say this successful integration and testing project between QuantLR and PacketLight represents a significant step forward in advancing the field of quantum commu- nication. The collaboration demonstrates the viability of combining quantum solutions with optical networking infrastructure, unlocking new possibilities for secure and efficient data transmission. “We are extremely pleased with the out- come of this collaboration between QuantLR and PacketLight,” said Nir Bar- Lev, CEO of QuantLR. “This





Telxius signs up to Firmina subsea cable system

Global connectivity provider Telxius is joining the Firmina subsea cable system, which connects the East Coast of the USA to Las Toninas in Argentina, with landings in Praia Grande in Brazil and Punta del Este in Uruguay. Telxius will also host Firmina in its Santos digital hub in Brazil. The company says its customers will benefit from three redundant routes between the US and Brazil (Firmina, Brusa, SAm-1) as well as three redundant routes extending to Argenti- na (Firmina, Tannat, SAm-1). These routes bolster the network’s resilience, ensur-

joining Firmina which demonstrates our commit- ment to delivering low laten- cy, enhanced diversity and high-capacity networking across the Americas for our customers and partners. In today’s rapidly evolving busi- ness landscape, we believe in the continuous growth of our international submarine cable network to create major business opportunities for all of us involved. We are also thrilled to announce the expansion of our collab- oration with Google and confirm our shared mission to jointly invest in internet infrastructure”, said Mario Martín, CEO at Telxius.

trial fibre, including eight next-generation subsea sys- tems: Marea, Brusa, Dunant, Tannat, Junior, Mistral, Tikal, and now Firmina. Telxius also has a Tier-1 interna- tional IP network (AS 12956) offering direct Internet con- nectivity to major carriers and ISPs, with a capacity of more than 20 Tbps plus a wide-ranging portfolio of capacity, colocation and security services across the globe. In October of this year, Telxius announced it was extending its ultra- high capacity subsea cable (Tikal) to land in Cancun, in Mexico. “We are excited about

ing robust and low-latency connectivity spanning the Americas. Together, these network routes will increase international connectivity and are expected to boost the digital economy, open- ing new opportunities for businesses. The Telxius network has been designed to connect the main digital data hubs on both sides of the Atlantic with a multi-terabit, robust set of next-generation sub- sea cables fully serving the Americas and Europe while enhancing Telxius traditional routes. The Telxius network spans over 100,000 km of submarine and terres-

Adtran secures supply chain with new German facility

Bharti Airtel taps Nokia for pan- Indian network

Adtran has opened a new Terafactory in Meiningen, Germany, to fortify supply chain resilience and accelerate regional technological advancements. The new state-of-the-art facility brings production back to Central Europe, boosting the company’s robustness against global logistics shocks and promising to create new local jobs. The Terafactory also streamlines workflows and reduces resource consumption by harnessing advanced automation technologies. The move towards supply chain autonomy for Adtran’s core European market echoes a similar strategy in the US, where the company has recently expanded its manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama. The new Terafactory reduces Adtran’s dependence

Nokia today has entered into an agreement with Bharti Airtel to deploy a next-generation optical transport network that will provide additional capacity, higher reliability and lower cost, enabling superior services for Airtel’s customers. As part of the agreement, Airtel will utilise Nokia’s 1830 PSS-x OTN switches in its National Long-Distance Network connecting major cities across India. The launch of 5G networks and the push for broadband connectivity across India is increasing demands for CSPs, including augmenta- tion of backhaul transport for denser 5G mobile networks, wholesale connectivity for new segments like smart grids, datacentre intercon- nect (DCI) and other busi- ness services. To address this exponential growth in traffic

on overseas suppliers and helps stabilise the delivery of its networking solutions to customers. As part of the BMBF-sponsored 6G-Tera- factory project, Adtran will deploy an Open-RAN based private mobile network across the campus, ena- bling automated processes, making the production of hardware, such as the company’s flagship FSP 3000 open optical transport plat- form, more efficient. Quality control is also simplified, as this can now be conducted by experts at the Meiningen site prior to distribution. And with its photovoltaic solar power system, Adtran is further reducing its carbon footprint as it moves towards energy self-sufficiency throughout the Terafactory. This significant initiative has been bolstered by a sub- stantial investment from the Thuringian government.

demand, transport networks need to be upgraded to increase overall transport capacity and bandwidth efficiency using high capacity OTN switching and utilising additional spectrum includ- ing the L-band wavelengths of the fibre. The increased capacity will mean that Bharti can potentially deliver faster and more reliable broadband services and be ready for new use cases. Chandan Kumar, Head of Optical Network Business Centre for Nokia India , said: “As a world leader in OTN, our technology will help Airtel to increase the capac- ity and features of Bharti’s optical transport network to meet growing bandwidth demand driven by the enter- prise and hyperscaler seg- ments. It will also provide the service level performance to meet the strict SLAs from Airtel customers”.





Hamamatsu Photonics’ InGaAs Photodiodes: Illuminating the Future of Optical Communications In the dynamic landscape of optical communications, the evolution of data transmission technologies has reached new heights, propelled by innovations such as InGaAs photodiodes. Among the pioneers in this field, Hamamatsu has taken center stage, revolutionizing the industry with its cutting-edge photodiode technology.

In the realm of optical communications, Hamamatsu Photonic’s InGaAs photodiodes shine as beacons of technological advancement. From expanding the detection spectrum to pioneering ultra high-speed solutions, Hamamatsu’s commitment to excellence is evident. As engineers and innovators look towards the future, Hamamatsu Photonics remains a steadfast partner, offering a diverse range of InGaAs photodiodes and continually pushing the boundaries of what is achievable in the world of optical communication. Step into the future with Hamamatsu Photonics and illuminate the path to high-speed, efficient data transmission.

50 Gbps models, this latest innovation is a testament to Hamamatsu’s dedication to advance the frontiers of data transmission. The ultra high-speed InGaAs PIN photodiode operates from a low reverse voltage, ensuring efficiency and reliability. The company’s optical design and manufacturing expertise are evident in the integration of techniques that maximize light capture in a small photosensitive area, maintaining an exceptional Signal- to-Noise (S/N) ratio. TAILORING SOLUTIONS FOR TOMORROW’S CHALLENGES While near-infrared light offers immense potential, it also presents challenges that demand innovative solutions. Hamamatsu, drawing on its extensive experience, not only provides a range of InGaAs photodiodes but actively engages in ongoing innovation to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

At the heart of optical communication lies the InGaAs photodiode, a crucial component enabling the conversion of light into electrical current. Hamamatsu Photonics, with its expertise in photonics technical design and production, has harnessed the full potential of InGaAs technology. Combining high speed, high sensitivity and low noise with impressive spectral responses, their InGaAs photodiodes offer new possibilities in data transmission. EXPANDING THE DETECTION SPECTRUM Traditional Silicon Photodiodes were limited to detecting ultraviolet and visible light. However, Hamamatsu’s InGaAs photodiodes mark a significant leap forward by extending the detectable spectrum into the realm of infrared light. This expanded range creates new possibilities for applications, making it an indispensable tool in the rapidly evolving telecommunications landscape. The surge in data demand has driven engineers to seek efficient emitters and detectors with high-speed capabilities. Optical communication, leveraging light for data transmission, has emerged as a key solution. Hamamatsu’s commitment to this paradigm is evident in its InGaAs photodiodes, which play a pivotal role in the quest for high efficiency and speed. The utilization of near-infrared light in optical communication represents a technological breakthrough. Hamamatsu’s InGaAs photodiodes, with their varying cutoff wavelengths, allow for the detection of longer wavelengths compared to traditional Silicon counterparts. This enhancement not only facilitates faster data transmission but also opens avenues for improving transmission quality and reducing energy consumption in data centers. SPEEDING UP COMMUNICATION: HAMAMATSU’S ULTRA HIGH- SPEED INGAAS PIN PHOTODIODE Recognizing the paramount importance of speed in optical communication, Hamamatsu has developed an ultra- high-speed InGaAs PIN photodiode. Complementing the existing 25 Gbps and

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2023 saw developments on a number of fronts with increases in transmission speeds, new technologies being rolled out and a significant increase in the availability of high-speed fibre coverage across Europe. Here are just a few highlights of the year as it draws to a close and we look forward to an even busier year in 2024.


solutions, Common Electrical I/O (CEI) CEI-112G & CEI-224G channels and Common Management Interface Specification (CMIS) implementations. Earlier in the year, also set the landscape for further developments with the industry-first in

compatibility with 50G lanes. It specified the module definition can be in the form of an optical module or a passive copper cable assembly and provides ~140G/mm of bandwidth edge-density. It can enable optical and/or electrical interfaces for a 51.2Tbps aggregate bandwidth switch.

OIF held its largest-ever multi-vendor interoperability demonstration at ECOC 2023, in October, in Scotland. 39 companies participated in live and static interoperability demos at the OIF booth, highlighting advancements in four key technology areas: 400ZR+ optics, Co-Packaging

the form of it’s 3.2T CPO Implementation Agreement (IA). The first project under the umbrella of the Co- packaging Framework Document, the IA Module defined a 3.2T co-packaged module that targets Ethernet switching applications utilising 100G electrical lanes and provides backward



Given the incessant demand for data throughput, several component manufacturers have been striving to send ever more data over ever longer distances, and in May, Infinera successfully completed a trial for Telstra InfraCo’s intercity fibre project in Australia, delivering 61.3 Tbps of unregenerated data transmission capacity on a fibre pair over the equivalent of 1,240 route kilometres between Melbourne and Sydney. The network trial used Infinera’s 800G-capable

Following serious supply chain issues in 2022, CEOs from eight of Europe’s largest integrated photonics companies presented Thomas Skordas, Deputy Director-General, DG Connect, and Lucilla Sioli, Director for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry, DG Connect and Werner Steinhögl, Head of Sector, Unit for Microelectronics & Photonics for the European Commission, a plan to build a resilient European supply chain for photonic integrated circuits. The

ICE6 coherent solution and Corning Incorporated’s SMF- 28® ULL fibre with advanced bend. Earlier in the year, Infinera set two 400G over distance records using its ICE-X pluggables, including a demonstration at OFC, where the company launched ICE 7, the latest iteration of its optical engine, along with a new range of components.

plan calls for a total investment of €4.25 billion over eight years and a range of recommendations to enable the European integrated photonics industry to become a global leader and have the ability to supply EU customers autonomously.





ZTE releases the industry’s first Tbit all-optical access platform

ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063. SZ), a global leading provider of information and communication technology solutions, has unveiled the latest Tbit-level deterministic all-optical access platform, the ZXA10 C600E, at the Network X exhibition held in Paris, France. This new platform has garnered significant industry attention and is poised to drive innovation in FTTx (Fiber to the X) services while contributing to the growth of global optical fiber technology. The ZXA10 C600E, developed for large- scale 50G PON deployment, features ultra-high bandwidth, determinism, openness and energy saving. It offers flexible compatibility with line cards from the ZXA10 C600/C650/C620 series, facilitating network deployment and resource allocation. With a remarkable 1Tbps bandwidth per slot, the ZXA10 C600E delivers 2.5 times the industry average. This exceptional bandwidth capacity enables non-blocking forwarding for 50G PON, 10G PON, and GPON Combo services, while also facilitating a seamless evolution from GPON to 10G PON and even 50G PON. Featuring an IP+TDM dual-plane architecture, the ZXA10 C600E employs distinct mechanisms for handling general IP packets and ensuring deterministic precision in terms of latency and jitter. It incorporates innovative hard pipe slicing and low- latency technologies, guaranteeing deterministic bandwidth, latency, and jitter for enterprise campuses. The ZXA10 C600E embraces openness by utilizing the standard NetConf/ YANG protocol. This protocol supports the management and interconnection of third-party SDN (Software-Defined Networking) controllers and EMS (Element Management Systems). It also facilitates SDN and NFV (Network Function Virtualization) for SDN evolution and virtualization deployment. The ZXA10 C600E prioritizes energy efficiency through a combination of multi-level measures, traffic prediction, and technical optimization. These

efforts result in reduced energy consumption, contributing to the development of sustainable FTTx (Fiber to the X) networks. As a technical leader in the optical access field, ZTE is committed to enhancing its foundational capabilities, driving technological innovation, and delivering high-quality solutions, products, and services to customers worldwide. ZTE’s FTTx solutions have been successfully deployed by over 300 operators in more than 100 countries. In fact, ZTE holds the second position in global market share for FTTx products, as reported by the esteemed consulting firm, Dell’Oro Group. 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

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According to the Market Panorama released by the FTTH Council Europe at the FTTH Conference, as of September 2022, FTTH/B coverage (i.e. premises passed) in the 27 EU countries (including the UK) was up 6.8% year-on-year, giving a total of 55.3% of premises passed. For the EU 39 countries (including UK) the figures were 5.3% and 62% respectively. Take-up for the EU 27 + UK over the same period however, was a mere 0.4% with a total of 52.8% subscribers as a percentage of homes passed. For the EU 39, including the UK was 1%, with a total of 49.5% subscribers as a % of homes

In an attempt to address the storm of global data traffic brought about by cloud computing and the increasing demand for higher bandwidth and better performance, the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operators DE-CIX, LINX, AMS-IX & BCIX, laid plans to introduce a new generation of optical transceivers, the 100G LR-1 (referred to as LR), to their platforms, starting in Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin, according to DE-CIX. While the existing 100G LR-4 uses

passed. The UK lead the way in terms of homes passed, which has accelerated extremely rapidly since the report’s data collection point of September 2022. Full fibre coverage had reached 42% of UK homes, or around 12.4 million by September 2022, representing an increase of 4.3 million homes between 2021 and 2022. Italy and Germany also increased FTTH deployment since 2021, although VDSL technologies remain the most widespread to date.

four lasers, each carrying a signal of 25 Gbps, the new 100G LR technology uses only a single laser and uses pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) to transmit data at 100 Gbps.



In August, Nokia announced it would become the first telecom company to begin manufacturing fibre- optic broadband network electronics and optical modules in the U.S. for use in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. Nokia said 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

Dell’Oro Group forecast coherent optical transceiver shipments to grow at a 17% CAGR for the next five years. Additionally, it says the coherent optics market is undergoing a tectonic shift with the availability of small form factor pluggable optics that will increase the use of coherent technology

contribute to the nation’s economic growth and job creation. Having access to 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.

by module/embedded and pluggables. Pluggable transceivers are projected to grow at the highest rate and contribute most of the volume growth for the next five years. In addition, the use of coherent transceivers on DWDM Systems will continue to contribute the largest share of the market revenue.

in routers and ethernet switches. The Group’s

Coherent Optics Advanced Research Report finds the coherent optics market is predicted to reach nearly US$13 billion by 2027, driven





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Further, faster, smaller, sustainable, were key goals for new product launches in 2023. Some manufacturers upgraded existing product lines to achieve greater efficiency and power saving, while others concentrated on size reduction and versatility. Of the many excellent products launched throughout the year, here are just a few editor’s picks.


commitment to increase the amount of recycled material in its products. Ecoslim™ uses the new generation of Easenet microducts which are up to 90% made of reclaimed HDPE, resulting in up to 50% less usage of virgin plastics compared to the conventional duct solutions.

Prysmian Group’s Ecoslim™ cables are a sustainable telecommunication system using Sirocco HD and Sirocco Extreme (XT) optical cables which are available with up to 864 optical fibres. Sirocco HD cables are made with 50% less plastics and up to 25% smaller in diameter, in line with the Group’s


a very low power TIA, as well as a monolithically integrated optical MUX/ DEMUX on the PIC.

Chipmaker Broadcom, demonstrated a prototype of its Tomahawk® 5 based 51.2T “Bailly” CPO system at OFC 2023, along with a fully functional Tomahawk® 4 based 25.6T “Humboldt” CPO system. Both units were developed as a result of a strategic partnership with Tencent Holdings and are aimed at the hyperscale data centre market. The Tomahawk® 5-based 51.2T Bailly CPO is Broadcom’s first all- CMOS EIC, and includes


in pairs to power 2.4Tbps coherent line cards. This allows network operators to transport any combination of high-speed client services including 400GE and 800GE across metro, long-haul and subsea networks.

Nokia launched its sixth generation Photonic Service Engine (PSE), which the company says is capable of reducing network power consumption by 60%. The PSE-6s supports a chip- to-chip interface that enables it to be deployed





Ciena has announced the latest generation of its WaveLogic deliver a 50% reduction in space and power per bit compared to its 800G technology. CIENA’S WAVELOGIC 1.6TBPS COHERENT OPTICS longest links, with a 15% improvement in spectral efficiency compared to the previous generation. WL6e will also

technology. Optimised for high- capacity transport required with next-generation routing data paths and associated wholesale services. Ciena says WaveLogic 6 Extreme (WL6e) integrates new coherent DSP innovations to provide the highest capacity over fibre. It supports 1.6Tbps single-carrier wavelengths for metro ROADM networks, 800Gb/s across the


datacenter interconnects and metro networks. The device is designed to meet the demand for efficient bandwidth upgrades in datacenter interconnects and optical transport networks. The device is the industry’s first to enable 800 Gbps ZR/ OpenZR+ transmission in datacenter interconnects.

At ECOC 2023, Coherent launched a 140 GBaud integrated coherent transmitter-receiver optical subassembly (IC-TROSA), which the company says is the industry’s first to enable 800G QSFP-DD and OSFP digital coherent optics (DCO) pluggable transceivers for high-speed


throughput, shoreline density and low power,

Avicena debuted what it claims is the world’s smallest 1Tbps optical transceiver as part its

unlocking the performance of processors, memory, and sensors.The LightBundleTM interconnect architecture is based on arrays of GaN microLEDs that leverage the microLED display ecosystem and can be integrated directly onto compact high- performance CMOS ICs.

LightBundleTM multi-Tbps chip-to-chip interconnect technology at the SuperComputing event, held in November. Avicena says its microLED-based LightBundle architecture supports unprecedented






Inevitably, with the new year rapidly approaching, it’s tempting to speculate about the direction the industry will take in 2024, so we decided to ask three experts in their fields how they thought the next 12 months would unfold.

SERGE MELLE PRODUCT MARKETING, OPTICAL NETWORKS, NOKIA. The start of 2023 was exciting for optical networking, with several vendors announcing new high-performance coherent optics able to operate at 1.2Tbps per wavelength, including Nokia’s PSE-6 super-coherent optics. Progress in product roll-outs will end the year on a high note, with multiple customers announcing real-world live network field trials of these optics. My expectation is that technology innovation and new capability announcements will continue in 2024, along three key themes; continued scaling of WDM line systems, optical network automation, and 800G pluggable coherent optics. One trend that has continued unabated year-over-year is exponential growth in network traffic, on the order of 30-40% per year, with new tailwinds coming from the growth of data-intensive AI/ML traffic. An ever-increasing number of optical network operators are now seeking to grow network capacity over their existing fibre plants and defer costly and time- consuming fibre overbuilds. For 2024, one can expect more deployments of WDM line systems that operate over the C and L bands of the optical fibre spectrum, termed C+L line systems. There will be an increasing range of C+L line system options, including modular C+L that allows gradual in-service expansion to the L-band when needed, and integrated C+L systems that deploy both bands on day 1.

One can expect to see an increased adoption of optical network automation software, that leverages AI and machine learning to automate complex and/or repetitive tasks in areas such as network planning and optimization, analytics and trouble-shooting, and service provisioning. Finally, following on the success of 400Gbps pluggable coherent optics such as 400ZR, ZR+, and CFP2, we will see several vendors introduce 800G pluggable coherent optics to bring increased network scale to metro and edge/access applications. Expect to see 800G pluggable optics supporting several standards or interoperability agreements, such as 800ZR, 800ZR+, and 800G OpenROADM, in a variety of form factors including QSFP-DD800, OSFP, and CFP2. ROB SHORE, SVP MARKETING, INFINERA 2024 promises to be an interesting year for optical networking. The industry should be past the post pandemic recovery including having most of the supply chain and subsequent backlog buildups behind us. As such, network operators can truly get back to looking forward, growing their networks and planning for future evolutions. One of the big trends you are likely to see in 2024 is the 400G pluggable revolution finally ramping up in network applications. To date, 400G pluggables deployments have been dominated by low output power (-10dBm) ZR and ZR+

technology and have been deployed largely in simple direct fibre DCI networks for hyperscalers. Traditional network operators have been slower to adopt 400G pluggables as their networks require a higher performance pluggable including 0dBm launch power and incremental operational features such as direct management, out-of-band noise suppression, and a higher OSNR. These network-grade pluggables (sometimes referred to as ZR++) started to become available in 2023 and will likely see a significant uptick in deployments in 2024 in service provider networks. Another significant trend in 2024 is a shift in direction for increasing fibre capacity. Historically, network operators could expect a 20-30% improvement in spectral efficiency with each new generation of coherent optical engine. However, with the 6th generation coherent technology (such as Infinera’s ICE6), the industry has drawn close enough to Shannon’s limit such that successive generations will provide only modest (~10%) incremental gains. As such, network operators will begin exploring alternative ways to increase the amount data that can be carried by each of their fibres. The most straightforward solution is to increase the amount of usable spectrum. Some equipment providers have answered this call with solutions that expand the usable spectrum from the extended C-band (4.8Thz) to the Super C-band (6.1Thz). This technology provides nearly 30% increase in fibre capacity. With the latest generation of transponder technology and in conjunction with





JURGEN HATHEIER, INTERNATIONAL CTO, CIENA One of the major drivers for more data centres at the edge of the network will be to reduce power consumption on the grid in central locations to improve sustainability. It will be interesting to see if countries like Norway, with massive renewable energy and cool temperatures, will see an influx of data centres given that their international terrestrial and domestic connectivity has been upgraded significantly in the last couple of years. It will remain a global challenge for us to power data centers where no renewable energy is available, and where a large and dense population requires additional access to compute. India is a great example where lots of data centres are powered by coal and the capacity per capita is only a tenth of what it is in North America or Europe. “‘Altnet’ may not have quite made it to be word of the year, but the awareness of alternative network providers has grown in FTTH ‘gold rush’ countries like the UK and Germany. In these markets, money has been poured in by private equity and government subsidies, but in greater volumes than the market actually requires. While the ‘homes passed’ metric is increasing, the penetration rate is still really low. This means 2024 will be a year of consolidation because it simply needs to happen.” HOWARD KIDORF, MANAGING PARTNER, PIONEER CONSULTING Three major developments in undersea telecom cables will be noticeable in 2024. As we have been advising our clients at Pioneer Consulting, the price of DWDM terminal equipment – Submarine Lightwave Terminal Equipment as we call it – will continue to drop as evaluated on a per-terabits per second basis. Of course, the major suppliers of SLTE – Ciena, Infinera, Nokia, and Cisco – can pursue these price drops due to the volume of equipment demanded by high-capacity undersea cables. This continuing decline in price is enabled by similar economics as drive Moore’s law: faster electronics and a growing manufacturing base. Without declines in the cost per terabits per second, the interlinked year-over-year

increase in undersea cable capacity could not be sustained.

the Super L-band, these solutions can now provide nearly 100T of capacity per fibre. 2024 will see network operators begin selecting and deploying this newer generation of expanded spectrum optical line systems. The final prediction relates to 800G pluggable optics. 2024 will see the release of the first generation of 800G pluggable optics based on 5nm DSP technology. While this technology will see some deployments in niche applications, the bulk of the market will wait for the next generation of 3nm DSP solutions that provide a number of incremental critical features. These features include multi-vendor interoperability and probabilistic constellation shaping that both simplify operations, reduce power consumption, and dramatically improve performance. “AI has been around for years, but the step into Generative AI has created new possibilities and unprecedented hype. While many network infrastructure providers are focused on how they can adopt GenAI into operations, some have surged ahead and are looking at how they can generate new revenues. This is critical as the competitive edge will not be won by reducing OPEX, but by offering new cutting-edge services. In 2024, we will see a massive demand for compute and connectivity requirements at the network edge which will require operators to build network edge fabrics that are open to machines allowing consumption of resources through APIs. This will be an important monetization factor for service providers and cloud providers alike. There will be a forced marriage of applications and the network to deliver to customers’ needs as inference scales on the edge.” Massive amounts of large-scale data center buildouts are still happening across large parts of Asia and Australia. While this has slowed a little in North America and Europe, in 2024 I believe we will see edge data centres popping up and operators preparing to peer in multiple locations rather than central peering points.

Since the capacity of a transmission fibre is bound by the Shannon Limit and the fixed bandwidth of the erbium doped optical amplifier, SLTE suppliers are mostly focused on advantages that allow lower cost per terabit per second. The second major development is that sellers of the undersea plant are now focused on increasing the number of optical paths in their cables. This is their contribution to the lowering of the cost per bit in long-haul transmission. They will be announcing new technology as well as deploying the technology they have been promoting for the past few years. Mostly, the impact will be made by: 1) continuing to increase the number of fibre pairs carried by a single cable (and amplified by a single repeater), and, 2) deploying multi- core fibres as another means to achieving the same goal as increased fibre count. Lastly, we are seeing some changes to the locations and architecture of networks as artificial intelligence begins to drive investment in data centres. Locations for data centres are no longer bound by the desire for low latency for user populations or data privacy regulations. Some data centres appear to be driven by the need for training models for machine learning and wider deployment of generative AI. The operators of undersea cables are more than happy to take advantage of the lower cost per bit of transmission. Ongoing decreases in equipment cost enables operators to lower their “raw material” costs and increase margins. If the cost per bit ever stops declining (which no one is predicting) the price of transmission capacity will stop declining. Operators and investors in new cables are focused on the demand for data centres and how they are being used. As much of the global web of cables exists to interconnect data centres (the rest interconnect population centres), where these tens of billions of dollars in data centres will be located will drive the need for undersea cables in the next five years.

Serge Melle Product Marketing, Optical Networks, Nokia

Rob Shore SVP Marketing, Infinera

Jurgen Hatheier International CTO, Ciena

Howard Kidorf Managing Partner, Pioneer Consulting




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