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ROADMs Instead of Metro 100G Systems?

March, 2015

At the OFC 2015 conference, one of the most highly respected network engineers in the business from Xtera Communications will be legitimately asking the question on a panel, “What on Earth is a ‘100G Metro System?’” Bill Szeto will be asserting that because 100G currently means a whole wavelength, there is nothing wrong serving the needs with just taking a 100-gig channel off of a ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer). In doing so, it would also take care of the potential problems with stranded capacity that would occur in mesh networks as we outlined in a previous blog article. Bill will also argue that a so-called 100G metro system would provide no additional features/functionality. Also, there would be the avoidance of the issues today, such as with compatibility between different vendors' equipment at that data rate. Obviously, service providers would not want to get lo ...

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Monetizing Older Networks: An Overreach?

March, 2015

Although one of the most thought-provoking panels at OFC 2015 will be on the monetization of optical networks, which will include seasoned experts who are vigorously involved in building new revenue models, it is not easy to imagine the kind of cultural metamorphosis that would be required for incumbent service providers to change their long-standing, bureaucratic behavior. In addition, while it is only commonsense to switch from a model that requires a lengthy period of time to install a circuit with a long-term commitment to more of a cloud-driven, network-on-demand paradigm, in which files can be loaded for say, a couple hours to be analyzed, we have discussed the very legitimate structural defects that would frighten executives away from moving in such a direction. Nevertheless, maintaining the status quo is also out of the question for these well-established carriers and seeking the ...

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Convoluted 20/80 Rule in Data Center Optics

April, 2015

Actually, it is probably a lot closer to a 90/10 relationship in which there is unbelievable amount of attention given to high-end optical development spurred on by a small number of mega-Data Center (DC) operators, which may not represent much higher than 10 percent of the total DC infrastructure market. At least the dot-com bubble initially came about with a legitimate bandwidth driver – the Internet. This time we have a cloud bubble based on relatively limited volume being promoted by a tiny minority of people in the industry with a vested interest including from small optical component vendors – of course, in some cases, being funded by those large end-users. The hype surrounds the new cloud model supposedly being a game changer, and that it will result in a ramping up to higher optical speeds quickly in the next few years. There is also the assertion that the different set of econom ...

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Knocking of Silicon Photonics Now Mainstream

April, 2015

Who would be against the idea of applying Moore’s Law at some time in the future to optical chips in that it would revolutionize the entire cost structure of transporting signals over light? Nevertheless, only a short time ago, there was hardly a peep of public criticism when it came to the obvious shortcomings of silicon photonics for active components with the exception of Finisar being unjustly punished for telling the truth, as well as fibeReality pointing out what was being said behind closed doors at the vast majority of manufacturers. Today, excluding certain individuals in academia, who are unwilling to admit to any negative attributes of Si photonics, it has presently become almost fashionable to openly state the undeniable conclusion expressed by one vendor’s recent response to us: “The only consensus on the technology is that there is no consensus.” In point of fact, Kaiam wil ...

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Optical PAM-4 Restricted to 500 Meters?

April, 2015

Our company is always inclined to look towards historical precedent for guidance, and electronics have continually been leveraged throughout the years to bail out optics, such as with its imperfections including nonlinearities, as well as with its cost in enabling greater simplification. So, our initial response would be to look in favor towards a solution like DSP-based PAM -4 for that relatively small segment of the data center market, which is gradually moving to higher data rates using single-mode fiber. Nevertheless, although these optics are being advertised to reach as long as two kilometers, it appears that technical restrictions could confine it to only a quarter of that length. The biggest advantage of using the sophisticated electronics in PAM-4 is that it allows for fewer lasers. Consequently, it facilitates the use of a less complicated optical multiplexer. PAM-4 suppliers, ...

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