Data centre optics

FEATURE

On-board optics: beyond pluggables

As befits its status as a computing giant, Microsoft’s musings about the internet’s future are poised to reshape the optical communication industry. In August 2015, following discussions with colleagues and suppliers, Brad Booth, principal engineer at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, helped found the Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO). The move answered a question: looking at network speeds of 400G and beyond, will networking equipment that uses faceplate pluggable optical modules continue to make sense?

FEATURE

Super-sizing the data centre

When Google published an insider’s view of its data centre operations, one image showed a branded bicycle that is their employees’ preferred method for getting around the company’s warehouse-sized facilities. Google builds some of the largest data centres in the world, although it considers the precise details to be commercially sensitive. One thing is clear, however; data centres are getting bigger and bigger, and this has major implications for the way they are designed. 

FEATURE

Taking multimode fibre to new wavelengths

Multimode fibre has been the workhorse of data centre networks for many decades because it provides the lowest cost cabling system for high-speed connections between servers, switches and storage. Although the optical fibre is more expensive, the larger core size enables the use of cheaper transmitters based on vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), which reduces the overall cost of the system. 

Feature

CableLabs is spearheading efforts to develop a proposal that uses coherent optics to dramatically boost the capacity of hybrid fibre coaxial networks, reports Andy Extance

Feature

Systems vendors are using intelligent software to squeeze more performance from optical networks. Pauline Rigby reports on developments at OFC 2017