XXXX XXXX JOHN WILLIAMSON FIBREOPTIC NETWORKS
FIBRE OPTICS EVOLVES TO SUPPORT FASTER, MORE FLEXIBLE NETWORKS
Intensive component, product and system developments are currently underway with producers and manufacturers looking to improve the logistics, performance and economics of optical networks, writes John Williamson
A t the component proposition. Dr. Eric Mounier, senior technology & market analyst at Yole Développement, identifies three main SiPh attractions: ● Low power consumption - in particular when compared to copper-based solutions, which are expensive and result in high electrical consumption. ● Reliability - important for datacentres where rack-server lifetime is two years before replacement. ● SiPh photonics is an Si technology, with the accompanying benefits of technology level, silicon photonics (SiPh) is emerging as a technology with considerable potential to enhance the optical networking
Acacia, and STMicroelectronics. “But the industrial landscape is well- positioned for an increase in players. After 16 years of development, Intel successfully penetrated this application, and now shares the current silicon photonics transceivers market with Luxtera, the market leader”, says Dr Mounier. “We also see new start-ups and an increasing number of products reaching the market, mostly for 100G but soon for 400G.” According to Yole Développement, the current SiPh market value is still quite modest, with sales (at die level) estimated to be less than US$40 million in 2016. “However, the market holds big promise, with an estimated 2025 market value of US$600 million at chip level and US$4 billion at transceiver level,” suggests Dr Mounier. GETTING THE DUCTS IN A ROW Civil works, installation and service connection methods and technologies collectively constitute a major slice of the cost of deploying and turning up optical networks. As such it’s unsurprising that contractors, suppliers and vendors in this business are under considerable and constant pressure to improve their oers. “Nowadays we are seeing more and more requests to speed up the project installation by means of an easier to install product, for example, a product that can be directly buried without additional parts or enclosures,” observes Scott Modha, international business development
manager at blown fibre and ducting specialist Emtelle. “More importantly, a network that allows future growth and expansion, with provision of fibre at the point of service, rather than investing on day one.” As an example of a solution that makes it easier to install fibre than is the case with traditional arrangements, Modha oers his company’s fibre-in-tube solutions QWKconnect. In this pre-connectorised fibre microduct system, the fibre is pre- installed during manufacture, meaning there is no need to blow or splice the fibre. Here, and in other areas of the fibre deployment and installation landscape, the need to reduce cost and the prospect of a shortage of labour force skillsets is influencing the design of contemporary solutions. “We anticipate that with the global skills shortage of skilled engineers in fibre blowing or splicing, there will be a requirement for simplifying and de-skilling the deployment of fibre,” ventures Modha.
functions integration, low manufacturing cost, and high density.
It’s true that there have been commercial reversals and, as Dr. Mounier acknowledges, today there are still only a few SiPh
Dr. Eric Mounier
products on the market: variable optical attenuators and active optical cables, along with transceivers from Luxtera, Kotura/Mellanox, Cisco/Lightwire, Intel,
| ISSUE 13 | Q2 2018
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