Autumn 2017 Optical Connections Magazine


The race to 400-gigabit interfaces

Elenion Technologies advances data centre plans withMicrosoft, Cavium

reach CFP2-ACO for point-to-point 200-gigabit links that has a reach of at least 80km. The second is a high- performance CFP2-ACO that has a reach of up to 4,000km at 100 gigabits and 650km at 200 gigabits. Elenion also has a 25-gigabit optical engine that will soon be launched as a datacom product. At the OFC show held in March, Elenion demonstrated the optical engine directly mounted on a Cavium QLogic network interface card connecting a server to a high-capacity Cavium Xpliant Ethernet switch chip. The demo showed how 16 NICs could be connected to the switch chip for a total capacity of 400 gigabits. “No more direct-attached cables or active optical cables, literally fibre-to-the-server,” said CEO, Larry Schwerin. Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia said: “There should be no doubt about the huge potential of 5G. Through 5G FIRST, Nokia is evolving its 5G strategy to drive the industry rapidly towards the adoption of standards-based commercial applications – as early as 2019. GROWING DEMAND FOR 5G NEW RADIO Thirteen leading telecommunications innovators, including Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, have joined forces to advance the development of new radio technologies for 5G (5G New Radio – 5G NR) driven by growing interest in mobile 5G applications based on fully standardized technology. The European research project ONE5G (aware Optimizations and advancements for the Network Edge of 5G New Radio) focuses on boosting the capacity of mobile networks, improving their energy efficiency and enabling a variety of new vertical use cases in dense urban areas as well as in rural environments. Besides Fraunhofer HHI, the members of ONE5G are Orange, Telefónica, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, B-COM, WINGS ICT Solutions, as well as the universities Aalborg University, Freie Universität Berlin, Universidad de Malaga and the research institute Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. ONE5G has received funding from the European Commission under the EU’s “Horizon 2020” initiative to drive research that enables a swift move towards 5G NR and advance digitization.

Elenion Technologies is progressing its optical engine design for the data centre that will soon be a product. Elenion has been working with Ethernet switch chip maker, Cavium, and data centre player, Microsoft, as part of its datacom work. The silicon photonics private company had been active for two and a half years and shipping a product before it announced itself last December. Since then Elenion has been shipping its coherent transceiver PIC – an integrated modulator-receiver assembly – first to Coriant and now other companies. The PIC is part of two Coriant CFP2 Analogue Coherent Optics (CFP2- ACO) pluggable modules for its Groove G30 platform used for data centre interconnect. One is a short- Meeting growing customer interest in 5G, Nokia is broadening its focus into multiple areas of early 5G mobility use cases, including enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency communications. Nokia says it will be pushing for accelerated 3GPP industry standardization while building on early customer experiences with its Nokia 5G FIRST end-to-end solution, launched in February 2017 With clear interest for 5G mobility applications already emerging from operators, notably in markets like the US, China, Japan and South Korea, Nokia plans to implement early 5G specifications, enhancing 5G FIRST with the 3GPP 5G Phase I protocol. This 5G NR (New Radio) air interface standard (see below), which is due at the beginning of 2018, is designed to support a wide variety of 5G devices and services. Nokia will continue to evolve and expand 5G FIRST as an end-to- end solution, designed to drive broader market adoption of 5G, via both mobility and fixed applications, as well as testing multiple 5G use cases. The company is building on extensive field experience already gained with Nokia 5G FIRST. These and many other of the key elements of 3GPP-based 5G implementation will enable Nokia to extend the scope of interoperability testing with a variety of devices. Nokia will also continue its application of leading-edge technologies, such as chipset and radio frequency innovations, in its end-to-end 5G strategy.

The industry knows what the next-generation 400-gigabit client-side interfaces will

look like but uncertainty remains

regarding what form factors to use. So says Simon Stanley, analyst-

Simon Stanley, Heavy Reading

at-large at Heavy Reading. Implementing the desired 400-gigabit module designs is also technically challenging, which could present a market opportunity for 200-gigabit modules should any slip occur at 400 gigabits. “There is significant investment going into the QSFP-DD and OSFP modules. Developers of semiconductors and modules are hedging their bets which means they have got to develop for the QSFP-DD, so that is where the bulk of the development work is going,” said Stanley. “But you can put the same electronics and optics in an OSFP.” The big challenge for 400 gigabits is getting 100-gigabit-per-wavelength components cost effectively. This requires optical components that will work at 50 gigabaud coupled with 4-level pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM-4) that encodes two bits per symbol. There is the IEEE 400Gbase-DR4 standard that supports four individual fibres each carrying a 100Gbit/s signal. Other coarse WDM four-wavelength standards under development include the -FR4. The challenge of implementing 100-gigabit-per-wavelength designs is what gives 200-gigabit modules an opportunity. Instead of 4x50 gigabaud and PAM-4 for 400 gigabits, a 200-gigabit module can use existing 25-gigabit optics and PAM-4. “You get the benefit of 25-gigabit components and a bit of a cost overhead for PAM-4,” said Stanley. “How big that [200-gigabit] opportunity is depends on how quickly people execute on 400-gigabit modules.” The first 200-gigabit modules using the QSFP56 form factor are sampling now. Meanwhile the first 400-gigabit QSFP-DD and OSFP client-side modules are expected in a year’s time with volumes starting at the end of 2018 and into 2019.

Nokia expanding development of 5G FIRST as industry interest grows


ISSUE 10 | Q3 2017

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