Spring 2021 - Optical Connections Magazine


II-VI’s Flextune embedded configuration protocol enables transceiver pairs across a given link to self-configure to a common wavelength channel. The 25 Gbps system supports an “optical budget” of up to 18 dB with a link reach of up to 15 km, said II-VI. Matthias Berger, vice president for II-VI’s coherent optics business unit, said, “This differentiated product combines a monolithically integrated indium phosphide tuneable laser and modulator with software intelligence in a standard pluggable transceiver module. It offers a vastly more cost- effective alternative to pulling fibre, with a product that’s just as easy to deploy as any standard pluggable transceiver.” SERVICE PROVIDERS AT THE EDGE Ciena says service providers in various markets are helping to expand the tuneables market as services need to be supported across different and evolving network footprints. Patricia Bower, senior manager for portfolio marketing at Ciena, says, “There are various drivers for business and network transformation for service providers and one key trend is the need to provide real-time services at higher bandwidth and low latency closer to the user (enterprise or broadband or mobile subscriber) at the network edge.” She says, “These services will be driven by emerging applications such as IoT, edge-compute, AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) and high-definition video streaming that require higher bandwidth for the best user experience.” She said network edge connectivity is currently supported by transport optics based on 10 or 25Gb/s capacities which, in turn, are based on direct detect technologies. In order to support the higher bandwidths needed for new edge services (at 100Gb/s and higher), the transport optics will migrate to coherent technology, said Bower. “100+Gb/s coherent optics at the edge will pave the way for higher

capacity over existing fibre networks, lower overall link engineering costs - through greater ease of use - and a multi-vendor ecosystem thanks to the focus on generating interoperable standards through global communications standards bodies,” Bower says. EVOLUTION Evolving form factors to address changing markets are taking shape too. CompoundTEK and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore are combining different technologies to address market needs. KS Ang, chief operating officer at CompoundTek, says, “There are many ways to build a tuneable laser. What sets our technology apart is the ability to integrate with Silicon Photonics (SiPh) devices which offers low propagation loss and high integration densities. In our co-developed solution, the tuneable laser consists of a Ⅲ-Ⅴ gain section and a silicon- based photonic integrated circuit. It is a solid-state laser diode based on integrated optics and will be compact and resistant to environmental vibrations.” Professor Wang Hong, principal investigator for the Silicon Photonics Programme at NTU, adds, “The type of lasers we are developing will be a critical technology in transceivers and co-packaged optics. As with all technologies, miniaturisation and scalability are key. Our Ⅲ-Ⅴ / SiPH hybrid wavelength tuneable laser technology places us in a good position alongside future trends. Of interest to our customers is the possibility of smaller form factors without sacrificing performance and we look forward to delivering on their needs in 2023.” It is clear that a combination of more established and newer tuneable optics players is steadily moving forwards to satisfy the evolving deployment, configuration and operational management needs of telcos, service providers and data centre operators in this growing market.

being valued at almost $7bn, which is impressive for a player specialising in a relatively new market.

FLEXIBLE ADVANTAGES Joe Mocerino, packet optical

solutions lead at Fujitsu Network Communications, outlines why the tuneables market is growing rapidly. He says, “Tunability provides flexibility of system configuration and ease of inventory management compared to fixed wavelength lasers for reduced Opex. “Legacy DWDM systems using fixed wavelength lasers previously had to assign a spare fixed wavelength laser in the C-band and keep it in their inventory in case of failure of an operating fixed laser.” Smart tuneable optical transceivers automatically self-tune to the correct wavelength without intervention by the host system or a field technician, simplifying operations to ensure fast system turn ups, higher performance and SLA compliance - while reducing the total cost of ownership over the life of the network. INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS To serve the needs of customers, partnerships are forming across the industry. HFR Networks and Fujitsu Network Communications, for instance, recently introduced 25G smart tuneable optics for 5G xHaul deployments. The technology is integrated with HFR’s intelligent xHaul RAN transport and edge access solutions. The offering reduces deployment and operational costs while simultaneously supporting 4G LTE, 5G and Ethernet services. “These self-tuning optical transceivers enable 5G applications, automate fast service turn-up and include full operational visibility on xHaul transport links for proactive management of active or passive remote sites,” said Mocerino. Mocerino said intelligent self-tuning optics in this market enable network operators to maximise valuable fibre capacity while saving on space and power at remote sites by using only passive components. “This is critical for operators around the world as they continue deploying additional LTE capacity in parallel with quickly ramping up new 5G services,” he said. Paul Crann, CEO at HFR Networks, confirmed, “By enabling converged 4G/5G services across RAN vendors and overcoming constraints due to limited fibre we are able to simplify operations.” The 5G space for tuneables is a particularly active one. II-VI’s 25 Gbps wavelength-tuneable transceivers, for instance, meet the CPRI 10 standard for 25 Gbps front-haul links in a standard SFP28 pluggable form factor.

Patricia Bower, Ciena

Joe Mocerino, Fujitsu Network Communications

Matthias Berger, II-VI



Q1 2021

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