Winter 2018 Optical Connections Magazine


burning power, you can justify it because you’re making money on it, but I’m not doing anything with my network switch other than connecting everything, so the question is how can I lower that power consumption so I can put more servers in my data centre, which is where companies like Microsoft, AWS and Google make our money.

where the box is going to sit. It was a very interesting collaboration with the industry, we brought a lot of people in. For example, Cisco brought in their people that have don embedded optics, as did Arista, Juniper and Ciena, all of whom brought in their knowledge and experience and were very open in sharing it because they knew this was not an easy lift. But if you look at it now, we have a single form factor in a sense, that is capable of of doing everything from multimode fibre all the way up to long-haul coherent. That doesn’t exist anywhere in the industry. The other thing we’ve allowed when the module is actually built, is that you’re not forced to do only a single port per module or only up to four or eight ports per module, you can go right up to 16 ports. That’s a flexibility that no-one else has in their MSA’s. It’s a unique feature for the footprint size we are capable of doing and the thermal capabilities of this part, the fact that we have solved some of the big signal integrity issues by moving much closer to the silicon is a nice step because we see this as a transitional step from the baseplate to on the board and what will eventually be a full package.

with, especially from a true standards point of view, we’ve taken some of the funding we have and poured it in to doing research and building post-compliance boards, building module-compliant boards, doing PCU laminate studies to understand what the thermal impact is on PCB’s. A lot of work is being done on optical connectivity and how we can connect. All of these things are going to be critical to what happens in the future, whether it be in COBO or with someone who creates their own proprietary version. Our goal is that we hope people will take what we’re providing and say ‘this will suit my needs or application’ or if it doesn’t meet their needs, they’ll think of coming to us and say that what they’ve got covers 95% of their needs and seek help to complete the remaining 5%. We’ve got a couple of plans already. We’re going to put out a number of white papers and documents, probably before OFC, where we’re hoping to have a full, live switch demonstration. We’re working on that right now. We’ve done module compliance boards and host compliance boards so people can start testing these parts. We’re making a small modification to our spec because we’ve discovered that there is one minor thing that needs to be tweaked, so we’re doing that. Also, our spec is written for the 50G PAM4 electrical signal, and now that the OIF and IEEE have started on the 100G PAM4 signalling, we’re going to intercept that, so effectively, we’ll have a module available capable of 1.6 Tbps.

What is COBO doing to address these issues?


We wrote a specification for people to go and build to, but we realised it was more than just


providing a connector and a footprint and that a lot of things are changing, so we have a single footprint for the two connectors that offer six possible classes of operation. There can be an eight- lane width or a 16-lane width and within those it is possible have three lanes, which offers different thermal classes. One of the things this class of capability allows us to do is go as high as 40 Watts of power capacity to these parts. The reason that’s important is this one footprint now offers the ability to support 100G, 400G and whatever comes next, as well as 400G ZR coherent and the IC- TROSA (Integrated Coherent Transmitter- Receiver Optical Sub-Assembly) being developed by the OIF for long-haul communications. So one single footprint covers such a broad scope but it is possible to optimise a design based on

What will COBO be doing in the future?


The other thing that we’ve done is, because we know this is a fledgling area for people to deal



ISSUE 15 | Q4 2018

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