Padtec Enters the Terabit Era with New LightPad Max Platform

By Lisa Crewe | Posted on May 16, 2024

Once again, Padtec is at the forefront of innovation with a new generation of transponders delivering up to 2.4T capacity for DWDM networks. Designed to meet the burgeoning demands for increasing transmission capacity, the new LightPad Max platform leverages Acacia’s Coherent Interconnect Module (CIM) 8  to double the channel rate in its customers networks compared with currently installed TM800G transponders.

I sat down with Argemiro Sousa, Chief Operations Officer for Equipment at Padtec, who shed some light on the development of this new product line and the company’s plans for the future. As Argemiro pointed out “The LightPad Max platform not only demonstrates our commitment to offer state-of-the-art innovative products, but it also furthers Padtec’s goal to extend our leadership in the Brazilian market while expanding our presence in the international market.”  This includes a focus on Latin America, the United States, Europe, and Africa.

Development Goals:  Performance, Time-to-Market, Form Factor and Robustness
As Argemiro explained, developing a new transponder is a long-cycle project and the transmission module is a key component for its success. Each year, coherent technology is improving its power consumption, advanced DSP algorithms and maximum GBaud rate. As the industry approaches the Shannon limit in fiber optics, these improvements are what make it possible to continue lowering the cost per bit in Padtec’s customers’ networks. Padtec chose Acacia’s CIM 8 because it enabled them to meet the following key requirements:

  • Performance: Enabling channels with up to 140 GBaud is essential to continue reducing the cost per bit in DWDM networks. The minimum received OSNR required by the CIM 8 enabling rates of 400G and above, making these high rates feasible in ultra-long-haul and long-haul networks.
  • Time to market: As an equipment manufacturer, Padtec starts developing its products before the optical modules are commercially available. “From previous experiences, we see Acacia as an aggressive player in getting to the market first and delivering cutting edge technology,” added Argemiro.
  • Form factor: The CIM 8 is a module focused on performance and yet is pluggable. Since its transponder design considers two modules, Padtec can offer a pay-as-you-grow model to its customers.
  • Robustness: Padtec needed a module that was highly reliable and had low rates of defect and they knew from experience that this was an Acacia strength.

Disaggregated Design Drives Cost Effectiveness in New LightPad Max Platform
Padtec’s goal with the LightPad Max was to repeat the success of its TM800G in Latin America by entering the Terabit era with a very competitive product that lowers total cost of ownership. Designed to optimize density and legacy compatibility, each line interface has 6 associated client interfaces capable of working both with 400GbE based on QSFP-DD and 100GbE QSFP-28 legacy interfaces, which are still prevalent in Padtec’s customers’ routers and switches.

One Product Family Spanning Multiple Markets
Targeting medium, long and ultra-long distances, the LightPad Max platform not only delivers scalability and cost effectiveness, but its disaggregated design also reduces space on customers’ infrastructure. And as a bonus, the standalone form factor makes the product more attractive to Alien Wavelength scenarios and the architecture is aligned to SDN technological trends.

Since the LightPad Max is a programmable transponder, operators can configure it with different rates and operational modes according to its needs. “This feature has great potential for the product to adapt to several network characteristics,” claimed Argemiro. “For instance, LightPad Max will make it possible to reach long haul and ultra long haul distances with 400G line rate, as well as higher rates of 1T or above in short distances such as data center interconnect scenarios.”

Padtec and Acacia’s Long-Standing Partnership
With the successful launch of the first LightPad Max family members, Padtec also plans to release future versions with advanced functionalities to be delivered by firmware updates throughout 2024 and 2025. The company already has agreements with some of its main customers to deploy in their networks.

At Acacia, we could not be more thrilled to see Padtec succeed on a global scale. We are also extremely proud of our long-term partnership, which dates back to 2016 when Padtec launched its 200G line cards based on Acacia’s CFP2-DCO.  Recently, these same line cards were adapted and qualified to use Acacia’s new generation 400G CPF2-DCO, based on the Greylock DSP.

Padtec was an early adopter of Acacia’s AC1200 module with its TM800G and TM1200G products, which Padtec has sold thousands of units of since 2020.  And we can’t forget our 400G pluggable family – the fastest growing coherent ramp-up of all time.  Padtec launched a disaggregated TMD400G standalone offering using Acacia’s 400G QSFP-DD OpenZR+ in 2023.

Lighting up the Future with Padtec Innovation and Customer Loyalty
Padtec ended 2023 with net revenue of R$ 368 million (US $70 million) which represented record gross profit and distribution of dividends. It was also the year the company saw a significant increase in its customer loyalty index, measured by survey based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology. Padtec achieved a NPS index of +77, a result that places it in the “Excellence zone.” This was a significant jump compared to 2022, when the company’s NPS was +55, and the highest historical level since the survey began in 2017.

As Argemiro explained, “The NPS survey showed that we are on the right path, by reinforcing our position of commitment to the success of our customers and investing increasingly in the technological evolution of our solutions and in expanding our service portfolio. The flexibility to meet customer needs, both from a commercial point of view and in the offering of products and services, is an important differentiator for Padtec that was recognized in this research. We are constantly seeking ways to expand and enhance our services, and as a result, we aim to serve our customers better with each passing day.”

Customer loyalty and technological innovation are clearly what drives Padtec day in and day out.  On behalf of the entire Acacia team, we look forward to seeing what the company achieves in the future and are excited to continue our trusted partnership to help them grow and succeed.