SAN JOSE, Calif. — Intel, Mellanox, and Vello Systems are among the latest companies announcing new standards efforts for optical networking at the OFC Conference this week. They aim to smooth the flow of a rising tide of data at various points through Internet datacenters and carrier networks.
Intel announced MXC optical connector products will be available from companies including Corning, US Conec, TE Connectivity, and Molex. MXC can transmit data at 1.6 Tbit/s using 64 fibers at 25 Gbit/s at distances up to 300 meters.
For its part, Intel plans to use MXC for silicon photonics products inside datacenter racks and switches. Corning is sampling MXC cable assemblies that will be in production in the fall. TE Connectivity and Molex also will build and sell MXC assemblies.
US Conec, the key MXC technology provider, will sell MXC parts to Corning and others and provide a certification program for the link. A Microsoft datacenter manager expressed support for MXC.
In September, Intel demonstrated MXC cables and its silicon photonics boosting bandwidth and lowering cost in a rack of computers. Mario Paniccia, Intel's leading researcher on silicon photonics, called MXC "a core building block for optical (or photonic) communications [that] will help define the way datacenters are built in the future."
Separately, startup Ranovus Inc. and networking specialist Mellanox Technologies launched a multi-source agreement (MSA) for a 100 Gbit/s wavelength-division multiplexing interconnect supporting distances up to two kilometers. The OpenOptics MSA can use 1550 nm wavelength optics, WDM lasers, and silicon photonics in a QSFP-28 package.
The link supports 4 x 25 Gbit/s WDM links over a single pair of singlemode fibers and can scale to 400 Gbit/s and beyond. The interconnect can reducing the fiber costs in a datacenter "by four to seven times compared to legacy multimode fiber implementations," said Saeid Aramideh, chief marketing and sales officer for Ranovus, in a press statement.
Taking a different approach to enhancing optical networks, Vello Systems announced the Open Source Optical Forum. The group supports open-source software for the OpenFlow 1.4 standard of software-defined networking. Current members of the group include Accelink, Coadna, CrossFiber, O-Net, PacketLight, and Pacnet.
Initially, some members will port OSO software to their existing optical systems, making them compatible with OpenFlow controllers and applications. Other members may build next-generation optical systems based on OpenFlow.
"We look forward to collaborating with the OSO community to understand their requirements and contribute solutions," said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation, which defines OpenFlow.
The open-source effort "has the potential to radically change the datacenter interconnect market enabling low-cost, white box approaches to optical connectivity that operators ultimately crave," said Ron Kline, a principal analyst at market watcher Ovum, speaking in a press statement.
Among other standards efforts at OFC, Finisar demonstrated components for the CFP4 interconnect. CFP4 uses 4 x 25 Gbit/s links to support 100 Gbit/s connections on optical systems. OFC marks "a big introduction for the form factor," said Finisar technologist Chris Cole, who wrote a whitepaper describing the link.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times