Kotura’s announcement of a 4x25G WDM transceiver in a QSFP package at 3.5 W is likely to raise some eyebrows. QSFP is currently in use for 40G Ethernet and 56G Infiniband products. Kotura predicts that the same package will become the industry’s volume standard for 100G networks.
“The QSFP package enables our customers to fit 40 transceivers across the front panel of a switch, providing 10 times more bandwidth than CFP solutions,” said Jean-Louis Malinge, Kotura’s chief executive, in a press statement.
“The market for 40G transceivers in QSFP packages has grown much faster than expected,” said Vladimir Kozlov, chief executive of market watcher LightCounting. “Squeezing 100G in the same QSFP package and reducing power consumption is critical for applications of 100 Gb/s optics in data centers,” he said in the statement from Kotura.
However one technologist who asked not to be named noted Kotura uses C-band (1550nm) while data center long wave technologies use O-band (1310nm). At a January IEEE meeting on 100G Ethernet, "Kotura's C-band technology got one vote out of 97, and the one vote was from their VP of marketing," he said.
Kotura has plenty of competition both from traditional players using VCSELs and other silicon photonics competitors including Intel, Cisco and Luxtera. OneChip Photonics (Ottawa) announced before the event a family of 100G Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), yet another approach to high-speed modules.
OneChip claims silicon photonics cannot pack all the optical components into CMOS and VCSELs cannot handle WDM. However, its alternative requires a relatively exotic indium phosphide process. It’s chips will be made in the compound semiconductor fab of Global Communication Semiconductors. In addition, OneChip is working with IQE to grow the III-V semiconductor epitaxial structures it requires.
A handful of other companies such as NeoPhotonics (San Jose) are also developing PIC-based products.
At the research level, CEA-Leti will discuss a new Grenoble-based initiative to establish a technology platform specializing in silicon photonics. It will provide 200- and 300-mm wafers using silicon-on-insulator and explore advances in VCSELs and PICs as well.
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OneChip claims its PIC approach is smaller and cheaper than silicon photonics.