Oh, What a Year… Late November back in 2020

By Tom Williams | Posted on December 3, 2020

I think we can safely say that no one quite expected 2020 to play out like it has. Here we are entering December and we’re about to attend both ECOC and NGON & DCI World virtually after nearly every conference and event in the industry was cancelled or moved online. It’s hard to believe that travel has been virtually non-existent for 9 months and most of us have not set foot back in an actual ‘corporate’ office. Certainly, it’s not the 2020 we planned…but we persevered. In fact, we did some amazing things given the restrictions placed upon us. As I prepare to present virtually at NGON and ECOC, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to reflect on those achievements. The world may have stood still in many ways, but our industry really never stopped. If anything, we all worked harder to keep innovating and meeting the new demands that COVID placed upon us.  And we did all this virtually…

Virtual Conferences

Here are a few notable accomplishments from the past year.

The Rise of 400G Pluggables
Bandwidth demands have continued to grow, putting pressure on cloud providers to increase the data center interconnects (DCI) that link their facilities around the globe. This has helped to drive the emergence of new architectures that could support coherent transport in the same form factors as client optics, to satisfy those demands in a cost-effective and operationally efficient way. 400G pluggables were designed to be plugged directly into switches and routers, offering the same density for both coherent DWDM and client optics in the same chassis.

Utilizing our 3D siliconization technology, Acacia introduced a family of 400G pluggable solutions featuring an expansive list of interoperability modes (400ZR, OpenZR+, Open ROADM MSA and CableLabs Coherent Optics Physical Layer Specification). These solutions were designed to enable DCI and service provider network operators to address increasing bandwidth demand through a simplified network architecture, helping to reduce both capital and operational expenditures.

Modules based on multi-sourced 400ZR DSPs are now being validated for readiness in DCI applications and network operators are evaluating OpenZR+ solutions with enhanced functionality.  For example, Acacia and Inphi recently demonstrated interoperability of 400ZR over 120km. In addition, Acacia and NTT Electronics announced successful interoperability testing of 400ZR and OpenZR+. At Acacia, we believe we will see system vendors and network operators announcing trials in the near future.

Coherent Moves to Edge and Access
The benefits of coherent have already been demonstrated in the metro, long-haul and submarine markets, and with the coming of 5G and edge computing, the time is right for coherent optics to take the next step and migrate to edge and access networks. We believe this market can benefit from the scalability, operational simplicity and improved total cost of ownership that coherent has to offer.

To address the wide variety of requirements in the edge and access market, Acacia recently announced a portfolio of products, including a coherent bi-directional pluggable optical module for cable and 5G wireless X-haul applications, a 100G coherent point-to-point edge and access solution for 5G Wireless X-haul and Enterprise Services, and a 100G coherent DWDM module for cable/fiber deep and 5G wireless X-haul applications.

Multi-Haul Coherent Solutions Take Off
With bandwidth demands continuing to rise, network operators have been looking for solutions that improve efficiency and maximize capacity utilizing while reducing network cost.  Multi-haul solutions have emerged to meet the needs of many markets including cloud, metro, long-haul and submarine network applications by providing the high performance and flexibility features required to address meet these demanding applications.

Acacia’s AC1200 product family offers customers a multi-haul solution designed to cost-effectively improve network utilization in a wide range of network architectures. Supporting transmission speeds of up to 1.2 Tbps, the AC1200 utilizes Acacia’s 3D shaping technology designed to optimize fiber capacity and reach by filling gaps in margin and spectrum. In addition to its higher capacity and density, Acacia’s AC1200 product family, when embedded inside a number of our network equipment manufacturer partners’ products, provides features designed to enable network operators to improve efficiency while reducing network costs.

Here are a few examples.

Long-haul Terrestrial Applications
ADVA announced that the FSP3000 TeraFlex™ broke multiple industry records in live network trial. ADVA also announced that FUNET trialed ADVA FSP 3000 TeraFlex™ to dramatically expand network capacity and Serverius, one of the Netherlands’ largest data center service suppliers, is leveraging its FSP 3000 TeraFlex™ terminal to massively increase the capacity of its deployed infrastructure.

Submarine Applications
Cisco is making waves in the subsea market having demonstrated the benefits of the NCS 1004 over a subsea cable in production achieving record results. Cisco and Superloop announced two deployments of up to 400G for 4600km on the INDIGO West cable from Singapore to Australia, and the INDIGO Central cable from Perth to Sydney, featuring a two-fibre pair ‘open cable’ design with new spectrum sharing technology.

Oh What a Year – But the Show Must Go On
As NGON & DCI World and ECOC go virtual this year, I am looking forward to presenting in the following two panels. I hope to see many of you online and from all of us at Acacia…stay safe and healthy and have a great rest of the year.

Contact us if you would like to schedule a meeting with myself or one of my colleagues.