"Silicon photonics has made considerable progress in a relatively short time to emerge as an important systems technology whose time has come"
Part 2: Next-generation passive optical networks
The Full Service Access Network (FSAN) has outlined its vision for fibre access networks for the coming decade.
FSAN is an industry forum that includes over 20 operators and 70 members overall. The group identifies service requirements and develops optical access technologies that are passed to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for standardisation.
“One of the messages of the roadmap is that, in the immediate future, what FSAN wants to do is evolve the existing standards,” says Peter Dawes, FSAN NGPON co-chair.
Part 1: XGS and TWDM passive optical networks
Telefonica is the latest operator to test XGS-PON, the 10-gigabit passive optical networking standard.
“Operators want to show they are taking the maximum from their fibre investment,” says Ana Pesovic, marketing manager for fibre at Nokia, the supplier of the XGS-PON equipment used for the operator’s lab tests. “Telefonica has been really aggressive in their fibre deployments in the last couple of years.”
Approved by the ITU-T in 2016, XGS-PON supports two rates: 10-gigabit symmetrical and the asymmetrical rate of 10 gigabits downstream (to the user) and 2.5 gigabits upstream.
XGS-PON has largely superseded the earlier XG-PON standard which supports the 10-gigabit asymmetrical rate only. “It is fair to say there is no traction for XG-PON,” says Pesovic. “Even in China [an early adopter of XG-PON], we see the interest slowly moving to XGS-PON.”
- Elenion Technologies is making silicon photonics-based photonic integrated circuits
- The company has been active for two and a half years and has products already deployed
A privately-owned silicon photonics company that is already shipping products has dropped its state of secrecy to announce itself. Elenion Technologies is owned by Marlin Equity Partners, the investment firm that also owns systems vendor, Coriant.
“We are in the [optical] engine business,” says Larry Schwerin, CEO of Elenion Technologies. “We are developing a platform leveraging silicon photonics but we have other capabilities.”
Elenion’s expertise includes indium phosphide, radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs), packaging, and driver and control electronics circuit design. The RFIC expertise suggests the company also plans to address the mobility market.
The company will detail its first products prior to the OFC show next March.
The telecom industry has long recognised the benefits of the Internet content providers' data-centre work practices. It has led to the operators starting to embrace software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) technology whereby telecom functions that previously required custom hardware are executed as software on servers.
Now, ten telcos, systems vendors, component and other players have joined Facebook as part of the Telecom Infra Project, or TIP, to bring the benefits of open-source design and white-box platforms to telecoms. TIP has over 300 members and has seven ongoing projects across three network segments of focus: access, backhaul, and core and management.
NeoPhotonics has entered the fray as a supplier of long-distance CFP pluggable modules that integrate the coherent DSP-ASIC chip with the optics.
The company has announced two such CFP Digital Coherent Optics (CFP-DCO) modules: a 100 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) module and a dual-rate 100Gbps and 200Gbps one.
“Our rationale [for entering the CFP-DCO market] is we have all the optical components and the [merchant coherent] DSPs are now becoming available,” says Ferris Lipscomb (pictured), vice president of marketing at NeoPhotonics. “It is possible to make this product without developing your own custom DSP, with all the expense that entails.”
More industry figures comment on books read this year. Here are Finisar's Simon Poole's and Ciena's Loudon Blair's recommendations.
Simon Poole, director, new business ventures, Finisar Australia
The highlight of the year in fiction was reading The Shepherds’ Crown, the last of the Discworld novels from the wonderful Terry Pratchett. He, along with his cast of extraordinary characters, including the marvellous Tiffany Aching – a fabulous role model for teenage girls, held up a mirror to the foibles and strengths of our humanity, and will be sorely missed.