Light Reading
Chip vendor Inphi outlines the architectural challenges of developing affordable 100G modules for metro cloud connections.

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
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (6) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Hot Topics
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed