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The OFC Blog

Optical Data Center Interconnect: Hot and Highly Competitive

By Tim Doiron, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networking, ACG Research | Posted: 9 February 2018

As we get ready to travel to San Diego, California, for the 2018 OFC Conference and Exhibition March 11–15, I have been reflecting on the data center interconnect (DCI) market and thinking about what we might see at OFC this year.

Although the overall optical networking market struggled through the first three quarters of 2017, the optical DCI use-case, specifically the small form factor (SFF) appliance (“pizza-box”) category, continues to be one of the hottest growth segments in optical networking. Total optical DCI revenue has grown by over 24% y-y through the first three quarters of 2017 with the SFF appliance category increasing at a blistering 81% y-y.  Optical DCI now represents over 17% of high-speed optical spending in the metro and long-haul markets.
 

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Is This the Right Time for Optical Companies to Invest?

By Alan Varghese, LightCounting Market Research | Posted: 8 February 2018

With the confluence of multiple major trends such as 5G, Big data, AI, IoT, AR/VR, Autonomous driving - all signs signal a positive investment cycle. Confidence is high for 2018 as the optical and semiconductor industry builds next-gen scalable platforms to intercept these trends.

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A 2018 Look Ahead for Optical Networking Trends in the Hyperscale Data Center

By Macom | Posted: 7 February 2018

Previously, we forecasted some 2018 trends in the RF semiconductor domain, addressing the impact of digitization on legacy RF functionality, the demand for multi-mission capability for defense and civil applications, and the industry’s continued dependence on diodes to enable key system functionality.
 
Here we’ll turn our attention from RF to Light, and offer some predictions for the optical networking domain in 2018, with a special focus on hyperscale data centers, where the pace of innovation is hitting breakthrough strides.

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A Year of Innovations in 3 Days at OFC

By Casimer deCusatis | Posted: 5 February 2018

Did you know that someday soon, a “fiberless” technology backed by industry heavyweights such as LinkedIn and HP (Open 19 Foundation) might enable up to 400 GB of raw bandwidth to the cloud without the need to run fibers to each individual server? Or that the new 8K ultra-high definition televisions (UHDTV) are using plastic optical fiber? How about that new 16 nm technology for silicon CMOS devices at 600 GB/s; could it be related to machine learning networks, or perhaps the ON2020 roadmaps

If you didn’t recognize many of these topics but would like to learn more, then you’re in luck; these and many more will be on tap in one convenient place, the OFC 2018 Technical Conference and Exhibition, this coming March 11-15. Let’s take a quick look at the breadth of exciting technologies that are on the schedule.

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The state of telecom in 2017

By Dr. Scott T. Wilkinson, Senior Director of Portfolio Marketing, ECI Telecom | Posted: 28 December 2017

Perhaps you’re at a party or a family gathering. Perhaps you’re on a crowded plane or in a cab or Uber with a talkative driver. Wherever you are, when strangers meet the question inevitably comes up, ‘So what do you do?’ For those of us in telecommunications, we have a choice of answers depending on the audience. I like to start with ‘I work in telecommunications’ and see if I get blank stares or knowing nods before trying to go any deeper. On those occasions when knowing nods trump blank stares, the conversation almost always moves to, ‘So what’s the next big thing in technology?’

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A Quarter per Gigabit: Bargain Rates on 100G Optical Links

By Casimer deCusatis | Posted: 19 December 2017

At OFC 2017 the industry was challenged yet again to deliver a gigabit/second of optical link capacity for under twenty-five cents. The debate continues over whether this is achievable, and whether vendors can sustain a business model at this price point.

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Surveying the New Optical Form Factors for 400 Gigabit Ethernet

By By Nathan Tracy, Ethernet Alliance, Lightwave, © 2017 PennWell Corp. | Posted: 5 December 2017

Targeted for massive aggregation of data across an array of applications, 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400GbE) is on schedule for standardization this year within the IEEE 802.3bs™ Ethernet Working Group. Development of new and faster electrical and optical signaling technologies is simultaneously underway across the ever-expanding Ethernet ecosystem.

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Cloud Data Center Evolution - From 0 to 400G

By Macom | Posted: 16 November 2017

Cloud services and consumer products that rely on Cloud Data Centers have created a rapid evolution in Data Center capabilities. As services like the Internet of Things (IoT), audio/video content delivery, big data processing and social media continue to demand greater speeds, the Cloud Data Center industry is making strides to create solutions that are energy efficient and easily expandable. As a result, the need for low cost 100G is creating a shift in how the industry approaches the backbone hardware that enables Cloud Data Centers to respond and expand for both commercial and consumer needs. As Cloud Data Center providers work to find energy efficient low-cost solutions, the industry is looking toward future requirements that meet these needs as well. The evolution from 0 to 100G is just the beginning.

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Making Light Work of Encryption

By Casimer DeCusatis | Posted: 23 October 2017

Encryption at the physical layer has the advantage of being the last step before your data is transmitted across a fiber optic network, so encryption can protect all the applications above the optical layer. There’s been a lot of interest in this topic, with most of the major long distance optical network equipment providers offering some form of protection. 
 
 

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Mobile fronthaul in the 5G era

By Light Counting | Posted: 5 October 2017

In the past several years, LTE networks have been upgraded using additional frequency bands, carrier aggregation, and LTE-A, and small cells have been added within macrocell coverage areas, driving up fronthaul bandwidth requirements to the point where now many operators and equipment suppliers have standardized on 10Gb/s-capable multi-rate transceivers for all their fronthaul needs, since they can meet the majority of different transport speed requirements with one device, while reducing the complexity of specific site designs and spares inventory.  Many operators, especially those leasing their fronthaul fiber, have also deployed WDM systems in their fronthaul networks, as shown below. A typical fronthaul network incorporating WDM is shown below.

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC)  or its sponsors.

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