• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

SC461 - High-capacity Data Center Interconnects for Cloud-scale Networking

Sunday, 24 March
08:30 - 12:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Beginner


Dirk van den Borne, Juniper Networks, Germany
Sander L. Jansen, ADVA Optical Networking, Germany
Mark Filer, Stealth Startup, USA

Short Course Description:

This short course gives a broad overview of data center interconnect (DCI) architectures and technology in cloud-scale networks, ranging from short-haul interconnects of just a few kilometers across a campus network, to metro and finally long-haul deployments. In particular, we focus in this short course on how the latest advances in DWDM transport enable the realization of ever denser, more power efficient, higher capacity and more scalable data center interconnect links, in particular at 400G and 800G data rates.

We will provide an overview of the different technologies that are most relevant for today’s data center interconnects, covering the full range of transmitter and receiver technologies, pluggable form factors, modulation formats, protocols, and data rates. We will also cover the latest industry developments, with a special focus on 400ZR/ZR+ pluggable DWDM optics and how this impacts edge DCI architectures.

Besides transceiver technology, we will also cover system design aspects such as data center architectures, open line systems, disaggregation of the optical layer and cloud-scale network management and monitoring. We will discuss distinctives of data center interconnects when compared to traditional optical transport networks, and what are the most relevant design criteria in today’s DCI deployments. Finally, we will cover in detail the latest standardization initiatives as well as the evolution towards 800G pluggable coherent DWDM optics.

The short course should enable attendees to obtain a detailed overview of the different technologies and architectures that are most relevant to data center interconnects and get a comprehensive understanding for the different system design trade-offs in terms of cost, capacity, density, power consumption and complexity.

Short Course Benefits:

This course should enable you to:

  • Describe the typical use cases addressed by data center interconnects, including requirements around transmission distances, system capacity, traffic profiles, data rates, protocols and transmission latency.
  • Understand the system architecture of today’s data center interconnects, and which architectures are typically utilized in high-capacity data center interconnect deployments at 100G, 400G and 800G.
  • Describe how network disaggregation, open line systems, network monitoring, and management are implemented in cloud-scale networks.
  • Understand the different transceiver architectures in the context of short-reach DCI, for example direct detection in comparison to coherent detection, and how to leverage the trade-off between optical performance and system complexity / cost.
  • Be able to understand industry trends toward IP-optical integration with 400ZR/ZR+ pluggable DWDM optics, and how this can be used to reduce power and space requirements for short-reach DCI interconnects.
  • Obtain an overview of the different standardization bodies relevant for data center interconnects such as IEEE, OIF and TIP, and how standardization will contribute to the next generation of DC architectures at 800G and beyond.
Short Course Audience:

This course is intended for engineers, researchers and technical managers who would like to gain a better understanding of data center interconnect technology, architectures and solutions. Practical network implementations and system design trade-offs will be discussed in detail, such that the participants can obtain a good level of understanding for the challenges of today’s data center interconnect solutions. Participants should have a comprehensive knowledge in the field of fiber-optic transmission systems; no previous knowledge of data center architectures is required.


Instructor Biography:

Dirk van den Borne is a director of system engineering at Juniper Networks, where he leads a team of solution architects that advise operators on technology evolution across routing, transport, data center, campus and security. He specializes himself in the convergence of IP/MPLS and transport, and how developments in Ethernet, optical integration, and telemetry/analytics are shaping network architectures.

Dirk obtained his Ph.D. in optical communications from the Eindhoven University of Technology. He has spoken frequently at major industry events, authored and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal and conference contributions and holds several patents on optical communication. He served on various technical program committees, including currently on the OFC committee. He is based in Munich, Germany.


Sander L. Jansen is vice-president and general manager for the infrastructure monitoring BU at ADVA Optical in Munich, Germany. Prior to ADVA, Sander was a technical team lead of the optical components group at Nokia Siemens Networks, responsible for the evaluation and specification of new optical components.
He received his Ph.D. degree with highest honors in electronic engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. Sander authored and co-authored 10+ patents, one book chapter and more than 100 refereed papers and conference contributions. He has received several awards including the Young Investigator award from the IEEE Photonics Society “for pioneering contributions in optical OFDM for fiber-optic transmission systems”.

Mark M. Filer is currently working at a Stealth Startup as area tech lead in photonics. Before that, Mark worked at Google as Optical Network Architect, focusing on campus, metro DCI, and wide-area network optical solutions, and next-gen datacenter network architectures. Prior to Google, Mark spent several years in Microsoft Azure HW and Networking teams in Redmond WA, Amazon Web Services in Seattle WA, and ADVA Optical Networking in Atlanta GA. He has numerous publications and patents in the areas of photonic integration, cloud-scale network architectures, open line systems, long-haul transmission, and DWDM system impairments. Mark has served on the OIF Board of Directors as Vice President. He holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA.