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Microsoft & Facebook Launch Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration

The two companies look to reduce power consumption of switch-optic electrical I/O.

March 14, 2019

2 Min Read

REDMOND, Wash. and MENLO PARK, Calif. – Datacenter architectures are growing at a rapid rate, and switch designs are evolving to support greater networking demands. Technical challenges associated with these demands have the potential to impact the adoption of future technologies if left unaddressed. Co-packaging optics and ASICs have the potential to address these challenges by reducing the length of the switch-optic interconnects, thus lowering the power consumption of the switch-optic electrical I/O.

To address these and other technical challenges, Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. are announcing the formation of the Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) Collaboration. The goal of CPO is the adoption of common design elements that will provide guidance for suppliers in the design and manufacturing of co-packaged optics. CPO's intention over time is to enable an open and diverse ecosystem.

The collaboration intends to provide open specifications for design elements, including the electrical signaling interface, optical standard, optical module management interface and reliability requirements. When complete, the open specifications will enable the industry to develop a set of solutions involving switch and ASIC manufacturers, optics suppliers, CMs and others that will create the final package which can then be attached to the switch PCB. The collaboration has targeted the 51T switch generation as the tipping point for industry adoption of co-packaged optics.

"The Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration will provide a customer-driven, system-level view of requirements for co-packaged optics," said Katharine Schmidtke, director, Technology Sourcing, Facebook, responsible for the company's optical technology strategy. "By sharing the specifications, we aim to develop a diverse and innovative supplier ecosystem."

"Providing the industry with a customer-supported set of requirements will create a stable, cooperative environment where suppliers can address one of the optical industry's most important technical challenges," said Jeff Cox, partner director, Network Architecture, Microsoft and executive director of the CPO Collaboration. "As co-founders of the Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration, Microsoft and Facebook invite customers and suppliers to join and collaborate with us."

"Co-packaged optics have been a hot topic in the industry, but until today there has been a lack of a cohesive end-user voices for their need," said Sameh Boujelbene, senior director, Dell'Oro Group. "The CPO Collaboration initiated by Microsoft and Facebook clearly indicates that the end-user community is ready for the industry to develop this technology."

The CPO Collaboration will be evaluating and adopting open, technical solutions submitted by switch and optical suppliers. The collaboration will be looking for comprehensive proposals covering the complete solution including packaging.

The CPO Collaboration is a project of the Joint Development Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable groups to establish and operate standards and source code development collaborations.

Those wanting additional information on the CPO Collaboration and how to participate should contact [email protected].


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