& cplSiteName &

Meeting the 100G Metro Price Challenge

Carolyn Mathas
News Analysis
Carolyn Mathas
4/25/2014
50%
50%

What will spur data center/cloud operators to implement 100G metro connections? The cost of metro links will have to plummet, and there's good reason to believe it won't take that long.

According to Siddharth Sheth, VP of Networking Interconnect at communications chip vendor Inphi Corp. , "industry targets are that the cost will have to be down into the $2-to-$3 per Gbit/s range. Coherent 100G will move to the metro, but it could still be too costly for cloud operators in this application. While coherent technology will enable metro connections beyond 100km, cloud operators are looking for links of less than 100km at a low cost, and there's the challenge."

Approaches to enabling lower-cost sub-100km coherent connections include stripping the bells and whistles off existing solutions, or finding the right trade-offs between what happens in optics versus what gets done in electronics. There's historical precedence for this type of evolution: SFP+, for example, is a high-volume and popular data center optical connectivity solution, with tens of millions of modules shipped annually.

Looking at 10G client optics, for example, the industry evolved from 300-pin MSA, to XENPAK, to X2, XFP, to SFP+, and in transition the optics matured and solutions were less dependent on the electronics. Sucked out of the optics, electronics moved upstream into the system, where they were integrated into larger CMOS ASICs, driving down the total cost of solutions. Winners along the way were the companies that understood the implications of the transitions, and those that could exploit the DSP-based technologies that enabled them.

"The transitions will be similar with 100G," said Sheth. "Cheap does not mean less, it means more optimal architectural and technology tradeoffs and better design partitioning between electronics and optics. Greater feature complexity in electronics will enable lower-cost optics, which will lead to a much lower-cost solution. Features such as DSPs and ADCs with low latency, [and] FEC technologies that deliver the right gain will help achieve $2-to-$3 per Gbit/s 100G cloud optical links," he said.

The most important component advances for data center use in the context of 100G optical links are: advances in higher order modulation (HOM); DSP and FEC technologies on electronics; greater integration and stacking; and innovative packaging techniques on the optics. Silicon photonics will have a big role in moving towards lower-cost 100G links, as it exploits more mainstream process and packaging flows, and better integrates optics and electronics, driving down costs.

MSA consolidation will also be necessary to avoid market fragmentation. Since cloud operators exist in a closed ecosystem, they don't need to interoperate with the outside world, but can use their volumes to drive certain MSA success. The market can, in effect, decide who wins the 100G cloud optical link battle. And the winning solution, according to Inphi, will be the one that offers a reasonably priced (in terms of $ per Gbit/s) module in a QSFP28 form factor optimized for single-mode fiber connections of 500 meters to 2km, probably with 2016 volume production.

It's no surprise that Inphi, which boosted its annual revenues by 12.6% to $102.7 million in 2013, believes it can meet these criteria, developing products based on its own optical elements (drivers and amplifiers) and electronics (SerDes, CDR, ADC/DSP, FEC).

But of course, it's not the only components company with an eye on the 100G metro market. (See Acacia Communications Ships Industry's First Pluggable Coherent 100G CFP Module.)

— Carolyn Mathas, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Re-usable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into re-usable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (2) comments


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Verizon CFO: Eat Our (Fixed) 5G Dust!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2016
Eurobites: Telefónica Taps Juniper for Network Security
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/26/2016
WiCipedia: The Women Helping Women Edition
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.