The Hills are Alive at ECOC

By Lisa Crewe | Posted on September 16, 2022

On September 18th, the telecommunications industry will come together in Switzerland for the 2022 European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC Exhibition). A yearly event since 1995, ECOC has grown to become the largest optical communications exhibition in Europe and the key meeting place for decision-makers from across the fiber optic communications technology industry.

ECOC 2022

Acacia is excited to be participating once again in person!  We expect a number of hot topics to be front and center at the show – from the path to coherent lite, interoperable 400ZR/ZR+ pluggables ramping, and of course high-performance multi-haul solutions.

Coherent Lite

Over the last year, the industry has been abuzz around a new effort called “coherent lite,” which is a simpler implementation of coherent transmission that is designed for use in short reach campus and intra-DC applications. It essentially removes the features required for traditional transport DWDM applications.

Coherent lite pluggables can provide a competitive cost structure at 800G and beyond, utilizing fewer lasers, while meeting campus and intra-DC requirements. This solution can be a candidate for applications typically addressed by IM-DD solutions. We believe this will be a hot topic at the show.

The Rise of Standardized 400G Pluggables

The 400G coherent pluggable market is one of the most important developments in optical networking today. According to Cignal AI’s 4Q21 Transport Applications Report, shipments of 400ZR/ZR+ modules are expected to triple in 2022 as cloud operators such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are joined by traditional network operators such as AT&T, Windstream, and COLT rolling out high volume deployments.  Similarly, LightCounting’s Market Forecast from April 2022 estimates that the opportunity for pluggables based on 400ZR and 800ZR technology will surpass $2.8 billion by 2027.

Clearly, interoperable standards have played a key role in the rapid growth of pluggables. Standardization helps carriers by providing simplicity, interoperability and volume-driven cost. This has helped increase demand. The aggressive ramp of these products has been faster than any previous coherent technology generation. Several OIF members including Acacia are set to showcase multivendor interoperability for critical networking technologies at ECOC 2022.

OIF’s 400ZR project is proving successful in facilitating new and simplified architectures for high bandwidth inter-data center interconnects and promoting interoperability among coherent optical module manufacturers including Acacia’s 400ZR QSFP-DD. This 400ZR interop demo shows a full implementation across an 80km DWDM ecosystem using multiple form-factor pluggable modules, 400GbE routers, a 75 GHz C-band open line system, and test equipment solutions from multiple vendors. The demo provides evidence of widescale 400ZR deployment readiness based on a broad ecosystem of interoperable solutions.

Acacia’s newest entrant to the pluggable module category is the high transmit power 400G pluggable, which we are calling our “Bright” module.  We recently introduced the Bright 400ZR+ QSFP-DD pluggable coherent optical module with high optical performance designed for seamless deployment in ROADM line systems. These modules are designed to expand the applications for this technology by addressing a variety of ROADM architectures such as those with colorless multiplexing. With greater than +1 dBm transmit optical power and high transmit OSNR, Acacia’s Bright 400ZR+ gives network operators more flexibility to address a range of brownfield and greenfield applications utilizing the high-density QSFP-DD form factor.

High-Performance Multi-Haul Solutions

While pluggables are becoming extremely popular for router-based solutions in DCI, metro and some long-haul applications, transponder-based solutions are still required for long-haul, ultra-long haul and subsea. Transponders that include multi-haul high-performance modules can help network operators maximize their fiber investment, reduce power, simplify operations, and decrease costs.

The industry has shifted its focus to increasing the baud rate per carrier, while also introducing performance-improving innovations, to enable end-users to achieve cost-efficiencies as bandwidth demand continues to grow. As an example, newly introduced Class 3 120+Gbaud solutions based on silicon photonics offer a path to cost-effectively double capacity over a single carrier compared to earlier implementations.

Acacia’s performance optimized multi-haul coherent solutions have proven to be extremely effective at helping service providers meet these challenges.  Earlier this year, Acacia announced it had shipped more than 100,000 ports of its Pico DSP which powers the company’s highly successful AC1200 1.2TB module.

Building on this success, Acacia introduced its Coherent Interconnect Module 8 (CIM8), which is based on the company’s newest DSP technology, the 8th generation Jannu 5nm DSP, and includes second generation 3D Shaping and continuous baud rate adjustment of up to 140Gbaud.  This new module achieves several industry firsts:

  • The first single-carrier 1.2TB multi-haul pluggable module
  • The first coherent module to support 140Gbaud
  • The first 5nm multi-haul DSP

Acacia successfully demonstrated 140Gbaud performance with our high-performance silicon photonics at this year’s OFC 2022.

Speaking Sessions

To hear more about the topics discussed in this article, don’t miss our speaking sessions.

Come See Us!
If you are attending the show and want to connect, we’d welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Click here to set up a meeting. We hope to see you in Switzerland!