• A Hybrid Conference – In-Person and Virtual Presentations
  • Technical Conference:  24 – 28 March 2024
  • Exhibition: 26 – 28 March 2024
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

OFC 2023 – The Drive to 3nm Will Push Innovation Limits and Drive Significant Announcements

By Alan Weckel, Founder and Technology Analyst, 650 Group (www.650group.com)

The entire data center and service provide (SP) industry are about to embark on their 3 nanometer (nm) design journey. The new designs will help drive a significant investment cycle by the data center and SP operators. The timing is good. OFC 2023 will see some of the most important product announcements since before the pandemic as vendors showcase what they have been working on behind closed doors for the past two years.

Big Server Trends Drive Bandwidth

The server market is rapidly moving from peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) Generation 3, 4, 5 and 6. Additionally, CPU architectures from AMD and Intel continue to add more cores. AMD's Genoa can offer up to 96 cores, and Intel's Sapphire Rapids offers up to 60 cores. The combined x86 innovation, on top of the widespread adoption of AI/ML, will drive significantly more bandwidth inside the data center. 

At the same time, the best sources of this data sit around the world and in multiple edge locations. Data demands to drive AI models will increase transport spending in traditional telecom SPs and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Cloud providers are committed to spending on AI/ML despite potential weaknesses in other areas of spending in 2023. The AI age in computing is just getting started with 3nm designs.

ZR Technology to Move From Early Adoption to Mainstream

3nm digital signal processor’s (DSP) will drive second-generationSFP-based Ze best range (ZR) and ze best range plus (ZR+) modules to the market. It will help drive down the power and cost and drive higher speed opportunities. We expect 800 Gigabits per second (Gbps)  ZR/ZR+ to move mainstream in 2023 and several hints of 1.6 Terabits per second (Tbps) offerings shortly. As ZR becomes more mainstream, the economics of new links will become attractive. This could come from new metro links or help drive better connectivity in specific rural markets.

Higher Speed 224 Gbps SERDES Take Flight

The industry needs 224 Gbps Serializer/Deserializer (SERDES) to help drive networking speeds beyond 1 Tbps. 3nm brings us closer to the technology moving from labs to production. With 112 Gbps SERDES shipping now, it is fair to ask what is next. To reach the speeds Hyperscalers want to move to, the 224 Gbps SERDES will become a fundamental building block in the decade's second half. It will also help drive the conversation toward Silicon Photonics and co-packaged optics technologies.

Over $100B in Spend Over the Next Five Years

Between now and 2025, there will be nearly $100B in 400, 800 Gbps, and higher speed system shipments across Optical Transport, Routing, and Ethernet Switch vendors. As a result, the next upgrade cycle will be the industry's most significant.

We look forward to OFC 2023, meeting familiar faces, and making new friends. The early buzz and excitement around new technologies will make the 2023 show stand out. 

Posted: 5 December 2022 by Alan Weckel, Founder and Technology Analyst, 650 Group (www.650group.com) | with 0 comments

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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.