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Optical Interconnects

Optical Interconnects

By Lisa Huff, Discerning Analytics | Posted: 2 March 2012 4:58:32 PM
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There are some exciting new product directions that many optical components suppliers are taking. The industry has been talking about optical integration for many years and some companies, like Infinera (Booth 1158), have implemented it into their real-world products. While Infinera develops its technologies to be used internally only for its optical transport equipment, there are many more companies making similar advances. It seems we’re on the brink of some true industry breakthroughs using what many have deemed “optical engines.”

Here is a summary of a few of the components companies and their associated optical engine products:

  • Avago Technologies (Booth 1357) – its MiniPOD served as its first platform, but now MicroPOD is powering some of the world’s largest supercomputers.
  • BinOptics (Booth 901) – it uses its InP PICs to build "custom integrated microphotonics solutions" for its customers.
  • ColorChip (Booth 1134) – its silicon photonics is at the center of its 40G QSFP modules
  • Lightwire (now part of Cisco – Booth 2259) – its Opto-electronic Application Specific Integrated Subsystem (OASIS) based on CMOS technology that promises low power and high density.
  • FCI (Booth 2139) – OptoPack is at the center of its 10G and above transceiver and AOC designs.
  • Luxtera – OptoPhy based on silicon photonics that promises to drastically reduce power consumption.
  • Reflex Photonics (Booth 2631) – LightAble is the building block for its transceiver modules
  • Santur (now part of NeoPhontics – Booth 2200) – DFB/waveguide architecture has promise for not only tunable lasers, but many different optical interconnects

In the past, optical integration was a science project looking for an application. Now, these companies are leveraging their research to create products such as QSFP+ modules or tunable transceivers that are selling today. So even though you could make these transceivers tiny, they package them in standard form factors in order to develop a revenue stream in hopes that the technology can truly be used for miniature devices in the near future. Pretty smart business plan I think and ones that are starting to reap dividends. Because it was successful at commercializing the MicroPOD, Avago Technologies is now able to leverage the technology behind it to start to integrate optical engines with electrical ones. It is working with Altera, among others, to minimize connection loss at the edge of FPGAs by using optical interconnects.

Posted: 2 March 2012 by Lisa Huff, Discerning Analytics | with 0 comments

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