Hot Topics at OFC 2021: 400G Pluggables, Next Generation Embedded and More

By Tom Williams | Posted on June 4, 2021

There are several trends we expect to be front and center this year at OFC as speakers take to the virtual stage. These will include 400G pluggables, high-performance embedded coherent solutions, and coherent pluggable optics for service provider edge and access applications.  We’ve pulled out the most important highlights around each of these trends below, so sit back, relax, and get ready for a great OFC this year. It might be virtual, but the latest and greatest technologies will still be hot!

400G Pluggables Enter Deployment Phase
We are now seeing our service provider and hyperscaler customers preparing for an aggressive ramp to 400G services in the second half of 2021. They see significant opportunities to use coherent optics in switches and routers to simplify architectures and achieve reductions in CapEx and OpEx. In the last 6 months, there have been trial and testing announcements from Windstream Wholesale , Telia Carrier, and Colt highlighting the use of 400G pluggables in a carrier network environment. More recently, ADVA announced interoperability of Acacia’s high-performance coherent platform in a QSFP-DD form factor with ADVA’s new DCI OLS, providing DCI networks a clear path to a compact and cost-efficient optical layer assembled with best-in-class innovation. The success of these ongoing trials and tests have demonstrated the architectural benefits that 400G pluggables can provide to cloud data center interconnect (DCI) and service provider network operators.

Going Further Faster with High-Performance Embedded Solutions
Demand for high-performance embedded solutions continues to climb as network operators look for solutions that improve efficiency and maximize capacity utilization while reducing network cost.

To meet these requirements, next generation embedded coherent solutions should be able to maximize spectral efficiency and include features such as 150GHz-wide channels that double the channel bandwidth of current 75GHz. A 150GHz channel plan is important for accommodating higher aggregate baud rates (128Gbaud and beyond) that can expand 400G capacity over a much greater distance compared to 64Gbaud.

With their ability to operate beyond 100Gbaud, next-generation embedded solutions can allow network operators to evolve their networks to meet growing bandwidth demands, without sacrificing reach or stranding network bandwidth when migrating from current-generation solutions. SiPh opto-electronic integration and packaging are important tools for delivering this increased performance and functionality in the future.

Today, solutions such as Acacia’s Pico-based, AC1200 1.2 Terabit coherent optical module are meeting the needs of many markets including cloud, metro, long-haul, and submarine network applications by providing high performance and flexibility features required to address these demanding requirements.  In fact, the AC1200 module is deployed in more than one hundred networks around the globe and adopted by three of the four largest hyperscalers.

Coherent in Access Networks
The wired and wireless network infrastructure supporting today’s aggregated residential customer traffic and enterprise business services is driving bandwidth capacity higher than legacy infrastructure can support based on traditional optical transmission technology. While direct-detect solutions in service provider edge and access links encounter capacity and reach limitations, coherent technology can bridge the gap to higher bandwidth and longer distances on any deployed fiber type. Coherent also provides an operationally simple solution and comes in a range of form factors, such as QSFP-DD and CFP2-DCO, to address different network applications for cable, 5G wireless X-haul and enterprise services such as single-transmission P2P links, DWDM links, and single-fiber BiDi links. Read more in this white paper.

Come See us During OFC
This year we are excited to be participating in 6 panels that cover some of the key trends mentioned.

Here’s the full line up of Acacia speakers at this year’s show. On behalf of all our speakers below, we hope to see you there virtually.

Acacia will have a virtual booth (#1041) during the show, which you can access at this link.  We look forward to virtually meeting with our customers, partners, and suppliers.  We are also excited that this is Acacia’s first year participating as part of Cisco. You can find their virtual booth (#1441) at this link.

If you are attending the show virtually and want to connect, we’d welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Click here to set up a meeting with Acacia spokespeople.