Development Trend of Data Center Optical Transceiver and Technologies
2017-10-11
The rapid growth of network traffic has led to the evolution and upgrading of the data center, thus bringing great opportunities for the optical transceiver industry. Data center reasonable provisions of the use of optical transceiver, making new ideas, new technologies such as simplified packaging, silicon photon technology can be quickly promoted. In addition, the emerging applications have spawned new standards and multi-source agreement.
Development Trend of Data Center Optical Transceiver and Technologies
Data Center trends
Data center traffic rendering geometric multiples increase, especially now more popular virtualization, cloud computing, computing and storage separation, leading to the rise of the internal data center. According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index projections, 77% of the traffic will come from within the data center. This will drive the data center architecture toward flattening, increasing fiber coverage. The flat structure of the data center can greatly improve the efficiency of the transfer of things, improve the efficiency of the whole fiber management, especially increase the demand for high-speed optical transceiver modules and switches.

Data center port upgrades bring opportunities to the Optical transceiver industry
Another important trend is the upgrading of data center ports, we know that the more biased is the deployment of 10G, 40G optical ports, servers and switches are basically 10G ports, and switches and switches are connected through the 40G Optical transceiver module. In the last one or two years, the 100G optical port has risen rapidly, and it has gradually begun to deploy in batches. We can also connect to the server and the switch through the 25G DAC or AOC. In the near future, perhaps 2018 years later, based on 100G of optical access and 400G of light interconnection era will come quickly. Based on the flattened architecture of data center and the rapid upgrade of data center ports, the Optical transceiver industry brings great opportunities.

According to the latest forecasts, 100G Optical Transceiver module demand will increase rapidly at the end of 2016 to 2017. Relevant data show that the global total shipment of 100G Optical Transceiver module in 2016 is about 500,000 units, and this year is expected to be 3 million units. From last year’s transmission of about 100 meters QSFP28 SR4 series to 500 meters of the QSFP28 PSM series, until this year there will be more kinds of 100G Optical transceiver appear. Currently, it appears that the SR4 type of optical transceiver module growth, 200 km transmission in a year or two growth is very rapid. We can see that within 100 meters distance, SR Optical transceiver module has a relatively large advantage. The PSM4 Optical transceiver module, which is based on traditional schemes, has an advantage over 600 meters. For more than 1 kilometer of transmission distance, based on CWDM4 is a better solution.

The above is the characteristic of the data center, we think the data center is a reasonably defined market. The characteristics of the Open Optical Transceiver module of the data center is also a typical application based on the data center, such as customizing the temperature and customizing the transmission distance. Based on these applications, the characteristics of the data Center Optical Transceiver module are more open to the new technology. New technologies include a number of simplified packaging techniques, including the ones mentioned later.

The composition of traditional optical transceiver
The optical Transceiver module is actually a combination of light and electricity, the basic function is through the laser photoelectric conversion, the realization of these data and signal interaction. But the optical transceiver module manufacturers to do more because we can see the electro-optic transformation. From the beginning of the laser port encapsulation, the structure of the package, the realization of Optical transceiver module reliable and effective function. So from the cost can be seen in the packaging cost and photoelectric chip cost, accounted for the entire Optical transceiver module 80% to 90% of the proportion. So we think that on optical devices, continuous optimization is the main development direction of the optical transceiver module.

Silicon photonics technology
There are four advantages, the first is the extremely low cost, the silicon material on Earth’s content is 28%, the second is the high refractive index, lossless transparent, from 1.06 microns, are transparent. Third, compatible with COMS process, line width error is small to 2nm error. The last advantage can be achieved by power off integration, seamless docking, signal integrity can be improved.

In fact, silicon photon technology in the 100G PSM4 won the initial success, here to introduce the most successful of the three companies, the first one is Mellanox. The second is Luxtera, the third is Intel, more interesting is that the three companies using three completely different photonics integration approach, which is one of the biggest problems. Mellanox uses the interface, directly on the silicon chip, with a more compact and high bandwidth features. The need for special SSC chip design to improve the sensitivity. The second is based on vertical coupling technology, the advantage is that the laser can be well protected, and easy to filter from the chip and components. The cost of this may be that the laser needs to be encapsulated. The second is the scalability of WDM. The third is Intel’s wafer bonding technology, you can have a better mass production, which is based on Intel’s strong R & D strength and technical reserves, not all companies can do such a very good effect.

Silicon photonics has significant advantages in running high-speed modulation, optoelectronic integration, and simplified packaging. Because the shimmer there are some unresolved problems, so learn from the success of silicon photonics in PSM4, DR4 type of optical transceiver module, we believe that silicon photon is a good entry point.

In the Data Center Optical Transceiver Module Standards and technical status, there are two major aspects. One is based on IEEE standards, including SR 100m, DR 500m, FR 2km, LR 10km. In the MSA, there are many, including 100G PSM4 MSA and so on, in the packaging has QSFP-DD, SFP-DD, in the near future we will see more new standards appear.

Summary
The rapid growth of traffic has driven the evolution and upgrading of the data center, which brings great opportunities for the Optical transceiver module industry. The data center reasonably stipulates the use condition of the optical transceiver module, so that new ideas and new technologies, such as simplifying encapsulation and silicon photon technology, can be popularized quickly. Emerging applications have spawned new standards and multi-source protocols. These have prompted the Optical transceiver module to be more widely used in open data centers.
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