Light Reading

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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment