Engineering 101

Optical Transceiver: China Supporting Growth

“For the past 50 years, mobile technology innovations have been rolled out each decade,” according to Martin Vallo, PhD, Technology & Market Analyst, Solid-state Lighting at Yole Développement (Yole).

Vallo added: “Mobile bandwidth requirements have evolved from voice calls and texting to UHD video and a variety of AR/VR applications. In spite of deep implications of the COVID-19 outbreak for the telecom infrastructure supply chain, consumers and business users worldwide continue to create new demand for networking and cloud services. Social networking, business meetings, video streaming in UHD, e-commerce and gaming will drive the continued application growth”.

In this context, Yole investigates disruptive technologies and related markets in depth, to point out the latest innovations and underline the business opportunities.

The Optical Transceivers for Datacom & Telecom Market 2021 report helps to understand the global landscape of fiber-optic communication and classify its technologies for newcomers to this field. The report provides straightforward and easy to understand explanations of the technology of optical transceivers. This study also examines the application landscape, and associated technologies, and provides detailed market forecasts from 2017 to 2026 for optical transceivers in datacom and telecom.

As analyzed by Yole’s team in the new Optical Transceivers for Datacom & Telecom Market 2021 report, the average number of devices connected to the internet per household and per capita is increasing. With the advent of new digital devices with increased capabilities and intelligence, the analysts observe higher adoption rates each year.

Expanding machine-to-machine applications, such as smart meters, video surveillance, healthcare monitoring, connected drives, and automated logistics, contribute in a major way to device and connection growth and push the expansion of data center infrastructure.

Revenue generated by the optical transceiver market reached around $9.6bn in 2020 and is expected to reach $20.9bn in 2026 at a 14% CAGR for 2020-2026. This growth is driven by high volume adoption of high data rate modules above 100G by big cloud service operators and national telecom operators to increase in fiber-optic network capacity.

The evolution of multiple technologies has enabled data rates of 400G, 600G, 800G and beyond across data center infrastructure as well as in long-haul and metro networks. 400GbE deployments are ramping across data center networks. Many cloud providers and telecom operators are now looking to 800Gbps optical ecosystem to increase bandwidth capacity and keep pace with the growing demand for data. 800G optical modules can support more configurations, for example 2x 400GbE, 4x 200GbE or 8x 100GbE.

Today’s Ethernet switch ASICs are running at a 50Gbps lane rate driven by 50G PAM-4 modulation technology. In line cards, a retimer is typically needed to synchronize PAM-4 data from the switch to the optical interface. In 400G optical modules, an additional silicon gearbox chip can be used to convert 50G PAM-4 electrical I/Os to 100G per wavelength optical I/Os in order to connect to 100G optics. Depending on the application and transmission reach 400G offer various optical interfaces, including 400G SR4, 400G DR4, 400G FR4 and 400G LR4.

According to Pars Mukish, Business Unit Manager, Solid-State Lighting & Display at Yole: “We anticipate high popularity of 800G modules as they take advantage of 100G single-wavelength optics already proven in 400GbE systems and thus can be technically and cost-effectively implemented in QSFP-DD and OSFP form factors.”

Current form factors will be limited in their ability to support more than 800G capacity in terms of required electrical and optical densities and thermal aspects. Power consumption is another challenge. The largest contributor is the electrical interface between the switch ASIC and optical module, particularly for QSFP-DD and OSFP. As a result of discrete electrical device implementation power dissipation and thermal management are becoming limiting factors for future pluggable optics.

In this regard, Yole’s partner, the reverse engineering and costing company, System Plus Consulting, provides insight into technology data, manufacturing cost and selling price of InnoLight’s TDP4CNT-N00 400Gb QSFP-DD Optical Transceiver in its InnoLight’s 400G QSFP-DD Optical Transceiver analysis.

Sylvain Hallereau, Principal Technology & Cost Analyst at System Plus Consulting, said: “InnoLight’s 400G QSFP-DD is one of the first 400G optical transceivers on the market, allowing communication up to 2km using PSM4 modulation. The InnoLight solution is based on the IN010C50 PAM4 DSP chipset, four GaAs laser driver dies, and a TIA die, all designed by Inphi”.

CPO is a new approach that brings the optics and the switch ASIC close together and aims to overcome challenges mentioned above. Furthermore, CPO technology is considered as a new deployment model of the whole ecosystem and alternative to the pluggable optics.

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