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Coriant favours silicon photonics-powered coherent for short-reach DCI links

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Silicon photonics is ready to make its mark in metro and short-reach data centre interconnect (DCI) networks, judging from an announcement by optical systems vendor Coriant.

The vendor is introducing a short-reach CFP2-ACO pluggable module, optimised to provide cost-effective 200G connectivity over single-span distances up to 80km on its Groove G30 platform.

The module has been designed by Coriant and is powered by silicon photonics technology from Elenion Technologies, a start-up originally incubated alongside Coriant (see Marlin-backed start-up Elenion targets silicon photonics).

The embedded silicon photonics engine dramatically reduces module costs, the company claims – compared to Coriant’s existing CloudWave Optics modules for the Groove platform, we presume.

Silicon photonics repurposes the silicon microelectronics ecosystem to build silicon chips that can manipulate light as well as electrical signals. Following extensive industry development over the past decade, and the technology finally looks ready for prime time (see The tipping point for silicon photonics).

The announcement also shows that Coriant is placing its bets on coherent for those shorter-reach and more cost-sensitive optical transport applications such as DCI and metro. Other vendors are considering alternative, direct-detect modulation schemes, such as PAM4 and DMT.

“Compared to PAM-4, the Short Reach CFP2-ACO preserves the operational and network engineering simplicity of coherent transmission while significantly lowering the cost and power for short reach interconnect applications,” Coriant stated via a press release.

Thus, the new Groove Short Reach CFP2-ACO pluggable represents a new class of analogue coherent devices, Coriant claims. In combination with the Coriant Groove G30 Muxponder, the short-reach CFP2-ACO can deliver very high-capacity, low power, and cost-optimised connectivity for all applications requiring 10G, 40G, and 100G service aggregation and 200G DWDM transport.

“A faster pace of innovation and the shift to more open, disaggregated network solutions are enabling network operators and content providers to redefine their network architectures for scale, quality of experience, and total cost of ownership,” said J.C. Fahmy, vice president of product management and business development, data center solutions, Coriant. “With the Coriant Short Reach CFP2-ACO we are redefining the economics of short reach transport while building upon the proven value of our market-leading Groove network disaggregation platform.”

Coriant customer Windstream welcomed the development. “Leveraging advances in high-speed optics enables Windstream to differentiate our 100G services and help our customers manage rising traffic volumes and dynamic workloads between data centres, especially in major metro markets,” said Jeff Brown, director of product management and marketing for Windstream Wholesale. “The Coriant Groove G30 Platform serves as a key enabler of our 100G services in the New York metro area, and we’re pleased to see Coriant enhance the value of this industry-leading solution with a new cost-effective short reach interconnect offering built upon innovations in silicon photonics.”

Coriant’s short-reach CFP2-ACO will be available in the third quarter of 2017.


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