Cignal AI explores the limits of Linear Drive optics

Analyst firm reports that energy-saving Linear Drive optics will only amount to a 'small fraction of 800GbE market.'#pressrelease

August 8, 2023

1 Min Read

BOSTON – Linear Drive optics significantly reduce system power by eliminating DSP functions from optics, but sizable business and technical challenges will limit the architecture's adoption. According to the newly released Active Insight report "Linear Drive Market Opportunity," only a fraction of Cignal AI's 800GbE datacenter optics forecast will employ Linear Drive by 2027. Cignal AI consulted with component makers and hardware manufacturers to identify the benefits, barriers and alternatives to implementing this architecture.

"There is tremendous excitement for Linear Drive architecture because it addresses the most challenging design problem for high-speed datacenter optics – power consumption – head on," said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Analyst for Optical Components at Cignal AI. "But while researching the market opportunity, we found that market and technical challenges will limit Linear Drive optics to select hyperscale applications."

Key Findings from the Linear Drive Market Opportunity Report:

  • Linear Drive offers compelling power savings, but competing solutions are being developed in parallel that will dull its impact.

  • Issues around switch chip support, system design, interoperability and timing will limit the overall size of the Linear Drive market opportunity.

  • Given the amount of investment being funneled into Linear Drive, some modules will be deployed in niche cases within homogenous hyperscale datacenters.

  • Cignal AI anticipates that less than 10% of our 800GbE datacenter optics forecast will use Linear Drive.

    Read the full press release here.

    Cignal AI

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