Optics Technology Advances technology advancement

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Speakers: Chris Cole, Finisar
The pace of optics technology development has been increasing. Some of the advances are similar to past innovation, in particular increases in per lane data rate, for example from 1Gb/s to 10Gb/s to enable increase in link data rate from 1GbE to 10GbE. Other advances are new, for example parallel fiber and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) that enabled 40GbE and 100GbE.

There are future technologies, such as higher order modulation (HOM) which will be combined with the past innovations to lead to future data rate increases to 400GbE and 1.6TbE. Some of these advances are transparent to network operators, like lane rate increase, WDM and HOM. Others like parallel fiber lead to operational changes. The per lane data rate increases will accelerate the shift from copper to fiber because of physics limitations, which will change datacenter cabling. Innovations such as ML (multi-link) pluggable modules, OEs (board mounted optical engines), and new light sources will enable higher density, flatter interconnect, which will require operational changes in breaking out and aggregating individual links.

Technology improvements will reduce the energy per bit/sec, however this will not be sufficient to offset the increases in speed and density, and thermal management will become more demanding.

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