Microsoft and Facebook form Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration

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Microsoft and Facebook have partnered to form the Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) Collaboration. Its goal is the adoption of common design elements that will provide guidance for suppliers in the design and manufacturing of co-packaged optics.

With data centre architectures growing at a rapid rate, switch designs must evolve to support greater networking demands. The technical challenges associated with these demands have potential to impact the adoption of future technologies. Co-packaging optics and ASICs could address these challenges by reducing the length of the switch-optic interconnects, thus lowering the power consumption of the switch-optic electrical I/O.

The CPO intends to provide open specifications for design elements, including the electrical signalling interface, optical standard, optical module management interface and reliability requirements. When complete, the open specifications should 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.

Katharine Schmidtke, director, technology sourcing at Facebook, commented: ‘The Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration will provide a customer-driven, system-level view of requirements for co-packaged optics. By sharing the specifications, we aim to develop a diverse and innovative supplier ecosystem.’

Jeff Cox, partner director, network architecture at Microsoft and executive director of the CPO Collaboration added: ‘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. As co-founders of the Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration, Microsoft and Facebook invite customers and suppliers to join and collaborate with us.’

The collaboration will evaluate and adopt open, technical solutions submitted by switch and optical suppliers. It will look for comprehensive proposals covering the complete solution including packaging.

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