Light Reading
Optical module vendor believes two years of R&D has given it a power-efficient, high-speed offer for the datacenter and telco markets.

TE Reckons Coolbit Is Hot Stuff

Carolyn Mathas
News Analysis
Carolyn Mathas
3/3/2014
50%
50%

It's no secret that datacenters are hungry energy consumers and their appetite is insatiable. While most today operate at 10 Gbit/s level, at the next increment of 25 Gbit/s, the high-speed data rate energy drain dramatically worsens.

According to a recent TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) white paper, approximately 50% of a datacenter's energy consumption is generated by networking equipment. Air movement and cooling adds another 37%; transformers and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) 10%; and such elements as lighting, 3%.

A major challenge for datacenter operators is that while energy consumption presents something of a roadblock to upgrades, increasing demand for the next wave of services, fuelled by advances in core networking and virtualization, makes an upgrade in high-speed transmission is almost unavoidable in a highly competitive market.

What's needed, then, is a combination of higher speeds and lower power consumption. And that's exactly what TE Connectivity has been working on.

It's almost four years since TE Connectivity (then known as Tyco) acquired the Optical Products Group of Zarlink Semiconductor for $15 million. The acquisition included a laser fab facility in Sweden and IC (integrated circuit) design in Phoenix, Arizona. (See Zarlink Sells Optical Unit to Tyco)

Now, after years of development, TE has unveiled its Coolbit optical engine, designed to tackle that power/speed challenge. (See TE Connectivity Unveils Coolbit )

According to Erin Byrne, director of fiber optics engineering at TE, "The company spent the last two years developing the Coolbit optical engine as a foundational element. Coolbit accommodates the demand for 25 Gbit/s and beyond while satisfying high-density and high-bandwidth requirements," she stated.

The engine, which converts data from electric signals to optical signals, will be the driving technology behind a range of upcoming TE products, including:

  • 100G QSFP28 active optical cables (AOCs)
  • 100G QSFP28 transceivers
  • 300G Mid-board optical modules (MBOs)
  • 400G CDFP active optical cables (AOCs)

Why is this product important? At 25Gbit/s there are significant signal losses, and signal compensating electronics are necessary. However, by embedding the mid-board optics (MBOs) onto line cards and switch fabrics in computers and communications systems, Coolbit enables higher I/O port densities, systems are not constrained by copper interconnect lengths, there’s greater power efficiency, and the MBOs mitigate the signal losses.

According to TE, the 25 Gbit/s QSFP28 modules, for example, perform at less than 1.5 Watts per transceiver, so that communications systems will achieve up to 60% more power savings than is currently possible. At the component level, this translates into significant system savings. For each watt saved, equipment operators achieve infrastructure operational expenditure savings.

Byrne states that the company is emerging as a challenger in the datacenter and in telecom based on solutions that are designed to counter power and density challenges. When asked what the most difficult part of the two-year development of Coolbit was, she said, "To maintain a clear vision to achieving low power over the course of the full two years of development. That meant resisting [the addition of] other features along the way."

— Carolyn Mathas, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 10:45:54 AM
Re: Renewable can help a bit
I sometimes cover data centers for different pubs. I had written about renewables a couple of years ago for Midwest Energy News (hence the ACT information). Emerson Electric in St. Louis has a complete solar energy roof on its data center, but that supplies ornly a portion of the energy that it needs.

I had written about data centers and renewable energy in Iceland several years ago.
CMathas
50%
50%
CMathas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/3/2014 | 10:39:50 AM
Re: Renewable can help a bit
That is very cool, Phil. Where's your involvement now?
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 10:09:04 AM
Re: Renewable can help a bit
I wrote an article several years ago on the use of geothermal in data centers in Iceland. At the time, they were able to run entirely on it. In the U.S., ACT, providers of the well-known college entrance exam, worked with project engineers to develop a geothermal system that helps cool their 10,000-square foot facility in Iowa City.
CMathas
50%
50%
CMathas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/3/2014 | 10:03:46 AM
Re: Renewable can help a bit
Phil, You're right on. There's not doubt the needs will continue to expand.

Iceland, huh? Never been there. I think geothermal energy poses other problems there though. I read that the processing smells like rotten eggs from the release of hydrogen sulfide! I love to travel. Maybe I'll add Iceland as a placee to visit. Then I can take in the sights and smells first hand.
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 9:14:54 AM
Renewable can help a bit
As the data needs of businesses, government and individuals keep growing, so will data centers, and so will the centers' energy needs.

Renewable energy, such as solar and, where it is available, geothermal, can help with some of the energy drain, though primarily in conjunction with fossil energy. In Iceland, where geothermal is abundant, even the higher energy requirements as data centers expand, might be handled with litte or no fossil fuel energy.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed