InP will dominate optical transceivers, says market watcher LightCounting.
Smit showed stats (above) from one market watcher, predicting that InP volumes will outpace SiP, but other analysts disagreed.
“The leading companies — Luxtera, Intel, Mellanox, and Cisco — are all on SiP, so there is a lot more money going into SiP than InP,” said Jag Bolaria, a senior analyst with the Linley Group.
Last year, Intel announced its first 100-Gbit/s SiP transceivers after more than a decade of lab work. Equipment makers Ciena and Juniper Networks made acquisitions to bring silicon photonics know-how in-house, and Acacia Communications, a maker of coherent transceivers based on silicon photonics, had a successful IPO.
By contrast, Smart Photonics in Eindhoven is showing some good links between InP process design rules and EDA with its partner, Phoenix Software, said Loring Wirbel, another Linley analyst and longtime comms expert. “InP has its role, for example, in placement of DWDM modulators and photodetectors, but there's no wholesale replacement of InP for SiP going on.”
In a sign of the diverse paths to photonics, he noted a research paper from Luxtera on a single chip made in a Globalfoundries 45-nm Silicon-on-Insulator CMOS process packing a RISC V core and 800 optical devices.
Overall, much of the focus at this year’s OFC was on relatively short-reach optics using 56G serdes to drive 200- and 400-Gbit Ethernet systems for big data centers, Wirbel said. “The show seemed lively, given the sagging state of many end markets … long-haul and undersea markets are flat,” he added.
In another keynote, a Google executive called for 10x improvements in capacity and 2x reductions in cost to server data centers in which bandwidth requirements are doubling nearly every two years. Nevertheless, many companies in the sector are reporting mid-single-digit growth rates.
Data centers and service providers still have widely varying requirements in optical networks, said Loudon Blair, a senior director of corporate strategy at long-haul specialist, Ciena. Blair, who also chairs the OFC steering committee, said that programmability is one rising theme at the event.
“The conference is upbeat, optimistic, with probably a higher turnout than in recent years,” he said. “We’re hearing more about smarter devices controlled by software, APIs, software-defined networks, open-source, and even big-data analytics over optical networks.”
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times